8:00 PM
Mark David Simmons (Taney County mug shot)

Charges have been filed in Taney County against a capital murder suspect from Texas that was involved in an eight-and-a- half hour standoff with authorities in Branson Tuesday June 29th.

Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell filed a single count of unlawful use possession of a firearm against Mark David Simmons, 51, of Rockport, Texas, late this afternoon. Those charges stem from the rifle and two handguns that Simmons had in his motel room when he was arrested.

A patrol officer was checking license plates at hotels in Branson following a pair of motel robberies Sunday when he got a hit on a stolen blue Hyundai parked at Walnut Lane Motel. The vehicle matched the same description as the getaway car used in the robberies. That hit also revealed that the suspect thought to have stolen the vehicle was wanted in Hays County, Texas on a capital murder warrant.

Prosecutors in Texas say that Simmons allegedly shot his business partner Steven Wayne Woelfel in April and lived with the mans decaying body for a week before he moved the mans body to a detached garage and set it on fire. Investigators believe he also unhooked a gas line to a stove in the house and left a candle burning that caused an explosion that blew out the windows and walls of the house as first responders were battling the garage fire.

Investigators believe the rifle and handguns found in Simmons motel room were stolen from Woelfel residence at the time of his murder.
Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell

Merrell says, "There is a possibility that Simmons could stay here and answer our charges first before he is extradited back to Texas to face the charges there. It comes down to who has him in custody. We're still trying to work all of the details out."

No charges connected to the weekend robberies have been filed, "I've not filed any charges connected to the robberies because the investigation has not been completed on those yet."

Simmons is scheduled to be arraigned on the weapons charge tomorrow according to Merrell.

Merrell cited Missouri Revised Statute 571.072 as the charges filed after hours when reached by phone this evening.