Charges in the Murder Case of a Branson Homeless Man Dismissed


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Charges in the murder case of a Branson homeless man in 2016 were dismissed this week. 

Jerimiah Fanning of Springfield was charged with second-degree murder related to the death of Wayne Gilley, 54,  a homeless man from Branson. The charges were dismissed this week.  

Gilley’s body was found in a wooded area near Highway 76. He died of blunt force trauma, 

Another suspect, Melissa Claus of St. Louis, was also charged with second-degree murder related to Gilley’s death, but her charges were dismissed in December of 2017.

“I did not feel that, at least at this time, there was a reasonable likelihood of a conviction,” Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell said.  “When you try a case and you lose a case, double jeopardy prevents future filings against that same person for that same crime and that’s a factor.”

Merrell said the investigation into Gilley’s death is still open with the Branson Police Department. Merrell leaves office at the end of the year and did not want to comment about the future of the case. 

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