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Phillip Lee Friend (mug shot TCSO)



Phillip Friend was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges on December 6th in Taney County.

Friend, 25, is one of three people that have been indicted by a grand jury for the death's of Rusty and Becky Porter.

The other two are Tony Friend, Phillip's father, and their cousin Dusty Hicks.  They each are also facing charges of felonious restraint and armed criminal action.

The Porter's went missing from their home near Willard in April of 2011.  The couple's skeletal remains were found in rural Protem that Tony Friend "frequented" when he was growing up, according to court documents.

Phillip Friend is due back in court on February 7th.  Tony Friend and Dusty Hicks are due in court on December 13th where it is expected that change of venue motions will be taken up by the court.

Clate Baker, the attorney for Phillip Friend, says he will ask that motions and pre-trial conferences be heard in Taney County because he believes his client's case will be moved over 50 miles away and it would be difficult for him to travel to another county for those hearings.

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