SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A man charged for the murders of a couple from northwest Greene County received a federal prison sentence on Tuesday for illegally possessing ammunition. Tony Friend, 45, of Springfield, received a sentence of four years and nine months without chance of parole. He'll likely get credit for time he's served in jails and prisons since last spring when he was arrested.
Friend pleaded guilty last Sept. 12 to being a felon in possession of ammunition. Law enforcement officers, who identified Friend during an investigation of the deaths of Rusty and Becky Porter in April 2011, seized three shotgun shells when they executed a search warrant at Friend’s home last May 23.
Under federal law, it is illegal for a convicted felon to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Friend has prior felony convictions for unlawful use of a weapon and domestic assault.
Friend is one of five people charged in state court for the deaths of the Porters. A Taney County grand jury issued indictments in October and December against Friend; Friend’s wife, Windy; Friend’s son, Phillip; and two other men, Dusty Hicks and Robert Campbell, an uncle of Rusty Porter. Windy Friend is charged with conspiracy to commit murder, not first-degree murder like the four men.
The Porters disappeared from their home north of Willard. Greene County sheriff's department detectives said the home was scrubbed down with bleach to try to conceal evidence. Their bodies turned up in a remote rural area of Taney County three months later. Investigators believe they were kidnapped at their home and killed in Taney County, although they've never said why they believe that. They've also not revealed the motive for the murders, if they know it.