Murder of Ozark's Couple Back in National Spotlight

TANEY COUNTY, Mo. -- A kidnapping and a double murder that sent shockwaves through the Ozarks, will once again be in the national spotlight.

In April of 2011, Russell and Rebecca Porter were taken from their home in Willard -- and then taken to Taney County and shot to death.

Their story is set to air on the Oxygen channel's "A Wedding and a Murder."

This marks the second time the Porter's tragic story appeared in the national spotlight. The first time was last July on the investigation Discovery Channel series, "On the Case with Paula Zahn." 

It took a span of five years to convict the five people responsible for the Porter's murders.

"So detectives investigated, followed leads that they were given by family members of Russell and Rebecca Porter," said Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell, "And eventually there was a tip here in Taney County, Missouri to a  Taney County Sheriff's Deputy, that led to the discovery of the remains of Russell and Rebecca Porter in a wooded area in Cedar Creek, Missouri."

Merrell shared why he believes this case is gaining so much national attention.

"You know possibly because there was some immediate media attention in April of 2011 when the Porter's were missing - and the circumstances were suspicious but there were really no direct leads from the law enforcement right off the bat, Merrell said, "And the breadth of the investigation because, it involved multiple agencies and multiple jurisdictions ..and lay witnesses really that weren't law enforcement from multiple areas as well."   

With a case like this, that has so many intricacies, prosecutor Merrell talked about his greatest challenge in bringing this case to a close.  

"We had circumstantial  evidence, which is still good evidence - a jury can use that to find someone guilty, said Merrell, "There's a common misconception that circumstantial evidence is less than direct evidence. It certainly is more difficult to use circumstantial evidence to gain a conviction, but it's not unheard of."

"It's a case I feel like I will never really forget," Merrell said.

"A Wedding and a Murder," will air Sunday, June 10, on the Oxygen channel. 



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