Proceedings Postponed Due to Ice Storm

By John Ford
Neosho Daily News [Missouri]
January 24, 2007-

Several area court cases were postponed in the wake of the Jan. 12 ice storm which hit Neosho and Southwest Missouri.

Three Southwest Missouri church leaders were to have appeared in court on Jan. 16 for hearings related to child sexual abuse charges.

Raymond Lambert, his wife, Patty Lambert, and his uncle, George Otis Johnston, 63, were to appear for pre-trial conferences.

However, these proceedings have been reset for 10 a.m. Feb. 20 in the McDonald County Circuit Court. Fortieth Circuit Court Judge Timothy Perigo will preside.

Lambert, 51, the pastor of Grand Valley Independent Baptist Church, faces four charges of second degree child molestation and three counts of second degree statutory sodomy. He is accused of acting in concert with his wife, Patty Lambert, in molesting a girl who was under the age of 17 at the time of the alleged incident, and acting in concert with another church member in molesting a girl who was under the age of 17 at the time of the alleged incident.

Patty Lambert, 49, faces a charge of second degree child molestation, a Class D felony.

George Otis Johnston, 63, faces a charge of first degree child molestation in McDonald County in connection with an incident involving a girl under the age of 17.

Johnston also faces 17 felony counts of child sexual abuse in Newton County. Case reviews have been set for Feb. 9 in Newton County.

Another person involved in the case, Laura Epling, faces a Class C felony charge of second degree statutory sodomy. She pleaded not guilty to the charge on Jan. 9, and will appear for a pre-trial conference as well on Feb. 20.

Another church leader, Grand Valley Independent deacon Paul Epling, 53, will appear at 9 a.m. Jan. 29 for a preliminary hearing to determine if evidence exists to continue proceedings against him. Epling faces an unclassified felony rape charge.

Another large case which was postponed due to weather was a sentencing hearing for Tulsa Bloods gang member Donald Overton who was convicted in December in the July 3, 2001, shooting death of Kendace "Sissy" DeCarlo.

The hearing, originally set for Jan. 18, has been reset for 3 p.m. Thursday before Newton County Division III Associate Circuit Court Judge Kevin Lee Selby.

DeCarlo, a 23-year-old single mother, was shot to death in the doorway of her home as her two young children looked on.

A member of the Tulsa Red Mob gang, Brian Lamel McDaniel, was convicted last January and sentenced to life in prison without parole the following month for the crime.

Another proceeding which was postponed due to weather was an arraignment for Brandy Hurley, a former clerk in the McDonald County Prosecutor's Office who is accused of child endangerment.

A probable cause statement filed by Deputy W.L. Davenport with the McDonald County Sheriff's Department said Brandy Hurley "knowingly acted in a manner that created a substantial risk to the life, body or health" of three girls by failing to report one of them told her that Hurley's husband, Denton Hurley, had been sexually abusing her.

After the charges were filed in October, Brandy Hurley was fired from her job.

Denton Hurley was arrested on charges he had deviate sexual intercourse with a 12-year-old girl. Denton Hurley faces an unclassified count of first degree statutory sodomy and three Class B felony charges of first degree child molestation.

He will appear for a pre-trial conference on March 6, with a jury trial set to begin April 10.


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