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Friday, May 6, 2016

Former sheriff, deputy face federal weapons charges

Monday, August 29, 2011

Former Carter County sheriff Tommy Adams, 31, and deputy Steffanie Kearbey, 23, both of Ellsinore, were indicted Aug. 18 on several federal weapons charges.

Adams, midway into his first term as sheriff, and Kearbey, a deputy since last June, resigned in April following an lengthy undercover investigation that led to their arrests.

Adams and Kearbey have now been indicted on three counts of possession of stolen firearms, one count of sale of a stolen firearm and one count of being an unlawful user of controlled substances in possession of firearms.

Adams was initially charged in April with possession and distribution of methamphetamine after snorting the drug with a Missouri Highway Patrol informant. For two months, Adams was held in a Cape Girardeau jail on a $250,000-cash-only bond.

In June, Adams, 31, of Ellsinore, pleaded not guilty to the single felony charge and had his bond reduced to $200,000 cash or surety. On June 8, Adams posted the 10-percent requirement and is free on bond, awaiting trial in that case.

On July 22, the state added two more felony counts against Adams for distribution of cocaine. The new charges allege Adams distributed cocaine to the same highway patrol informant in March and April.

Kearbey was arrested shortly after Adams, charged with receiving stolen property. She was accused of selling a gun taken from the department's evidence locker and stealing coins from an Ellsinore home.

Carter County Prosecutor Rocky Kingree dropped her charges in July, saying the state refused to provide him with evidence he needed to pursue the case.

Kearbey told investigators that Adams told her to steal the coins and instigated the gun sale.

Adams' drug case was set to be heard in Greenville in Wayne County by Associate Circuit Judge Randy Schuller, appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court. That case has since been moved back to Carter County.

Adams is set to appear in Carter County Circuit Court on Sept. 26. District Judge David Paul Evans has recused himself from the case. The Supreme Court has been contacted for a judicial assignment.

If convicted of the federal charges, Adams and Kearbey each face a maximum of 10 years in prison and/or a fine of $250,000 on each count, besides a supervised release of up to three years.

During a special election in June, retired Navy Captain Bruce Van Belle was elected to fill Adams unexpired term as sheriff.

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