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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Former county deputy accepts plea bargain

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Former Oregon County Deputy Sheriff, Darrin Sorrell, 32, of Thayer was sentenced on Monday, July 30 in Butler County. Sorrell was charged Oct. 12, 2011 in Oregon County Circuit Court with felony stealing by coercion.

Sorrell had originally pleaded not guilty to the Class C felony of stealing. On his recent day in court, Sorrell changed his plea to guilty, and accepted a plea bargain under the deal with prosecutors, the imposition of sentence was suspended and Sorrell was placed on three years' probation, and ordered to make restitution of $3,200 to be paid within 60 days.

Sorrell's arrest came less than a year after another former Oregon County Deputy, Dophes "Gene" Barton, was arrested for a series of burglaries. The two arrests are not related. Reports indicated that Sorrell threatened an Oregon County woman with an investigation for distributing marijuana, if she did not pay him money.

A probable cause statement filed by Oregon County Prosecutor Fred O'Neill indicated the woman paid Sorrell two checks, totaling $5,800, "to make the investigation go away." Sorrell allegedly deposited one check into his personal bank account and cashed the other, keeping the money at his Thayer home.

The Missouri Highway Patrol and Thayer Police Department assisted in the investigation.

At the time of Sorrell's arrest, Sheriff George Underwood commented, "It just kind of takes the wind out of your sails, but you have to keep your chin up and keep going."

In October, Sheriff Underwood issued an apology to the citizens of Oregon County.

"As sheriff of Oregon County, I feel I need to address the citizens of this county regarding recent events involving employees of the sheriff's department.

"Citizens of Oregon County: I would like to apologize for these grave indiscretions. I wish to assure each of you, as your sheriff, I will do everything in my power to assist in prosecution of these former officers. I would like to thank the Missouri Highway Patrol and the Missouri South Central Drug Task Force for all their help and assistance in the investigations of these officers.

"While these incidences have been hard on the sheriff's office, we are committed to protect and serve the citizens of Oregon County by any means necessary."

Dophes "Gene" Barton was sentenced to seven years behind bars on Tuesday, June 19 in Butler County Court.

He pleaded guilty in March to four counts each of burglary and stealing. Between August 2010 and December 2010, Barton broke into four different Oregon County buildings.

When Barton was sentenced he told the judge, "Your honor, I am sorry to stand before you today. I made bad decisions that will affect me the rest of my life. I apologize for my actions."

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