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Tony Friend (l.) and Dusty Hicks

The two suspects charged with the 2011 murders of Russell and Rebecca Porter pleaded not guilty in brief court appearances in Taney County on October 25th.

A grand jury indicted Tony L. Friend, 45, of Springfield, and Dusty R. Hicks, 25, of Walnut Grove, on October 3rd.  They are each charged with two counts of first degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action, and two counts of felonious restraint.

The Porters went missing from their home, which reeked of bleach, near Willard in April of 2011.  Their bodies were found at a rural property near Protem three months later.  They each had been shot execution style, according to authorities.


Rusty and Becky Porter


 According to a search warrant filed against Friend in an unrelated case: "Through information obtained from various sources, it was determined that Tony L. Friend ... grew up around the same area and frequented the exact location where the victims were located ."

Becky Ellsworth-Porter had close ties to the Crane and Galena area. She and her former husband pastored the Galena Assembly of God and Becky Porter worked at Stone County National Bank in Galena.
Taney County prosecutor Jeff Merrell says he has not decided if he will seek the death penalty against either defendant at this time.

Both men are scheduled to appear in court again on Dec. 13th.

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