Former Carter County sheriff deputy's father facing charges

Thursday, July 25, 2013

VAN BUREN, Mo. -- The father of a former Carter County deputy is free on bond after recently being charged with multiple felonies resulting from an investigation into alleged wrongdoings committed while Tommy Adams was sheriff.

Richard Lee Kearbey, 45, was arrested Friday by Carter County Sheriff Rick Stephens on a warrant charging the Ellsinore, Mo., man with first-degree burglary, receiving stolen property and three counts of second-degree arson.

Kearbey subsequently was booked at the Carter County Jail and "bonded almost immediately," Stephens said. Kearbey's bond had been set at $35,000 cash or corporate surety.

Kearbey's arrest came on the same day Assistant Attorney General David Hansen filed the charges against him, as well as additional charges against Adams, who resigned after his April 2011 arrest.

Adams, 33, of Ellsinore has been charged with second-degree burglary, first-degree burglary and three counts of second-degree arson.

Both men are to appear at 9 a.m. Tuesday before Associate Circuit Judge Don Henry for arraignment on the charges.

Kearbey is accused of knowingly remaining unlawfully in the Endeavor apartment of Ronald Pasley in Ellsinore between Aug. 1, 2010, and Oct. 1, 2010, while Pasley was home.

He also is accused of damaging Adams' modular home by fire Jan. 16, 2010, as well as the Ellsinore homes owned by Ben and Michelle Turner on Feb. 6, 2010, and by Donnie Kearbey on Dec. 18, 2010.

Kearbey also is accused of depriving the owner of guns by retaining them, knowing they were stolen, in August and September 2010.

Information about Kearby was uncovered during the investigation into the alleged crimes of former Carter County sheriff Tommy Adams, according to a probable-cause statement by Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Heath.

Adams is serving a 10-year federal sentence after having pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a stolen firearm, one count of sale of a stolen firearm and one count of being a drug user in possession of firearms.

Kearbey, Heath said, allegedly was involved in the burglary at Pasley's home, "where methamphetamine was stolen. … Adams had [a man] go to Pasley's residence and verify he had methamphetamine.

"Once [the man] advised Adams that Pasley had methamphetamine, Adams went to Pasley's residence and knocked on the door."

When Pasley opened the door, Adams allegedly walked in without permission, Heath said.

Adams, then deputy Steffanie Kearbey, the daughter of Richard Kearbey, and another deputy "searched the house and located the methamphetamine," Heath said. "Adams took the methamphetamine for personal reasons."

Heath said the suspected methamphetamine never was put into evidence and no report was made.

"Richard Kearbey was also present at the house during this burglary," Heath said. "(He) talked to Adams in front of Pasley and made it seem like he talked Adams out of arresting Pasley and (the other man).

"Richard Kearbey then told Pasley he owed him $500 for keeping him out of jail."

Heath said officers also found "Richard Kearbey was involved with arsons within Carter County. Richard Kearbey and Adams directed Gary Bender to burn three residences in Carter County."

Bender, aka "Goober," pleaded guilty in June to four Class C felonies of second-degree arson and two Class B felonies of distribution of a controlled substance.

The 48-year-old Ellsinore man was sentenced to seven years on each of the arson charges and 10 years on each drug charge. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently.

In addition to being accused of the arsons, Bender had been accused of distributing methamphetamine to a confidential informant and an undercover officer.

The receiving stolen property charge Richard Kearbey is facing deals with suspected stolen firearms.

According to Heath, Steffanie Kearbey allegedly sold a confidential informant a Sig Pro 2340 pistol on April 2, 2011.

"A comparable pistol of the same make and model on the Internet is listed for sale at $600," Heath said. "This gun had been stolen from the Carter County Sheriff's Department evidence room."

Adams, Heath said, allegedly brought this gun and several others to Steffanie Kearbey's Ellsinore home between July 2010 and September 2010 "after Richard Kearbey had bought all of the guns from Adams."

Heath said some of the guns seized, which Richard Kearbey allegedly had bought from Adams, include a Western Field 20-gauge pump shotgun, a Ruger .44 magnum rifle with scope, a Ruger 10/22 .22-caliber rifle with scope, a EIG .22-caliber, a Mossberg .410-gauge bolt-action shotgun, Stevens .22-caliber rifle, a Glenfield .22-caliber rifle with scope, a Henry .22-caliber lever-action rifle, a CBC .22-caliber rifle and a Winchester model 94 .32-caliber rifle.

"Some of the aforementioned guns were stolen from Milo Couser's residence, and others were stolen from the Carter County Sheriff's Department evidence locker," Heath said.

According to earlier reports, deputies reportedly had responded to a complaint at Couser's home in December 2009 and found nearly 20 firearms. Couser was a felon and could not lawfully possess the firearms.

The former officers were indicted by a federal grand jury on weapons-related charges in connection with the stolen guns. They subsequently pleaded guilty and were sentenced in July 2012.

Adams is serving a 10-year federal sentence after having pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a stolen firearm, one count of sale of a stolen firearm and one count of being a drug user in possession of firearms.

Steffanie Kearbey was sentenced to five years in prison on one count of possession of a stolen firearm and one count of sale of a stolen firearm.

The 25-year-old also has charges pending in Carter County. She is to stand trial Aug. 22-23 before Circuit Judge Michael Pritchett on the Class C felonies of receiving stolen property, second-degree burglary and stealing and the Class B felony of first-degree burglary.

She is accused of burglaries involving two Ellsinore homes, possessing stolen firearms and stealing a duffle bag and coins from an Ellsinore home.

Pertinent address:

Van Buren, MO

Ellsinore, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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