Osage County sheriff stealing trial still set for July

CLAYTON, Mo. — Osage County Sheriff Michael Dixon’s attorney on Monday withdrew an earlier motion for a continuance in Dixon’s criminal trial, so the sheriff will take his case to a St. Louis County jury next month.

Dixon was in the St. Louis County Courthouse Monday, and met with his attorney and staff members a couple of times.

But Circuit Judge Richard C. Bresnahan, appointed as a special judge in the case, never held a formal hearing in the courtroom. Instead, he met with the attorneys in his chambers and, later, posted a docket entry about two actions that were taken — the withdrawal of the “continuance” motion which would have delayed next month’s trial, and Special Prosecutor John Beger’s motion to amend the charges.

Bresnahan accepted that motion, which Beger told the News Tribune was mostly a technical correction.

Dixon goes to trial July 14 on a charge of first degree tampering with a motor vehicle, which is a Class C felony and could result in a prison sentence of up to seven years — if he’s convicted.

He also remains charged with four misdemeanor counts: first-degree sexual misconduct or, in the alternative, third-degree assault; harassment; and stalking.

Conviction of the misdemeanor charges is punishable by up to one year in the county jail, and a fine ranging up to $1,000, on each of the charges.

Beger, the Phelps County prosecutor appointed to handle the Dixon case, said the amended charges — and the proposed instruction for the jury — note that the sexual misconduct and assault charges both involve the same incident on June 24, 2013, in Belle, when Dixon is accused of running a flashlight up the inside of a woman’s legs.

He said the jury could decide Dixon wasn’t guilty of either charge, or could find him guilty of one charge or the other, but not both.

The tampering charge accuses Dixon of taking an all-terrain vehicle “unlawfully” operating a “motor-propelled vehicle,” described as a four-wheeler, “without the consent of the owner” on June 26, 2013.

The Highway Patrol’s original investigation report indicated the owner told the sheriff not to take the vehicle, but said Dixon took it anyway.

The harassment and stalking charges accuse the sheriff of making “repeated telephone calls” to a woman he worked with, between Oct. 1, 2012, and June 26, 2013, and of making “numerous and repeated comments of a suggestive or sexual nature and/or numerous and repeated telephone calls.”

Dixon pleaded not guilty to the charges last fall.

His attorney, Travis Noble Jr. of St. Louis, has said the allegations are part of a political effort against the sheriff, who took office Jan. 1, 2013.

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