Missouri State Highway Patrol: Evidence mishandled under former Sheriff Michael Dixon

6 months 6 days 7 hours ago September 14, 2016 Sep 14, 2016 Wednesday, September 14 2016 Wednesday, September 14, 2016 7:18:00 PM CDT in News
By: Emma Frazier, KOMU 8 Reporter
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OSAGE COUNTY - Mishandled evidence will cause cases to be dismissed in Osage County, according to the county's prosecutor. 

The Missouri State Highway Patrol independently investigated the evidence collected before Sheriff Michael Dixon resigned and found the integrity of the evidence room was compromised.

Dixon was the Osage County sheriff until May when he resigned after being charged with sexual misconduct and unlawful use of a weapon.  Carl Fowler, the new sheriff, requested that the Highway Patrol investigate after noticing both the lack of documentation for the evidence and the high number of people with access to the evidence room.

MSHP found the evidence was not documented and tagged correctly, including some evidence not being documented at all. It also found the evidence room was left open and unattended multiple times.

The Division of Drug and Crime Control of the Missouri State Highway Patrol did the investigation and said it cannot verify the integrity of the evidence in the evidence room.

Osage County Prosecuting Attorney Amanda Grellner said she has already started reviewing cases.

"I am going through cases pretty much every day to see the ones that we have pending to see if they are impacted.  Of course if another agency handled the evidence, or if it's stored at the Highway Patrol or something like that like some of it is, then those cases are fine and they are still preserved," Grellner said.

However, any of the cases that had evidence in the evidence room will be dropped.

"I will have no choice but to dismiss or not pursue any cases where evidence was collected and held at any time in the evidence room," Grellner said.

Grellner said this will also cause some guilty pleas to be set aside.

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