FORSYTH, Mo. -- If Tony Friend of Springfield goes to trial for murder, a jury from outside the Ozarks will hear the case here in Taney County. Friend is charged for the shooting deaths of Becky and Rusty Porter in April 2011. Investigators think they were taken from their home in Greene County, northeast of Willard, and killed and buried in Taney County.
Circuit Judge Mark Orr on Thursday accepted Friend's request for a change of venue. The county from which the jury will be selected is not determined, and no trial date is scheduled.
Friend is one of five people indicted by a Taney County grand jury for the Porters' deaths. Orr ruled last month that Dusty Hicks' trial also will be heard in Taney County with a jury from a county outside the viewing area of the TV stations in Springfield.
The other three people charged for the Porters' murders all have hearings scheduled before Orr next month. They are Windy Friend (Tony's wife), Phillip Friend (Tony's son), and Robert Campbell (Rusty Porter's uncle). Phillip Friend also has requested a change of venue but the other two defendants have not yet done so.
Court documents show Campbell and the Porters had a dispute a few weeks before the Porters disappeared. Rusty Porter asked a judge for an order of protection against Campbell, and then Campbell asked a judge for a similar order against Rusty Porter.