Murder suspects

UPDATED: A Texas County jury on Tuesday found a Mountain Grove man guilty of first-degree murder, armed criminal action and first-degree robbery in the death of Dustin Skaggs of Ava.

Douglas County Prosecutor Chris Wade prosecuted the case, along with assistance from Ozark County Assistant Prosecutor John Russo.

Elvis Volner, a co-defendant, goes on trial on the same charges in June.

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Earlier: A first-degree murder trial – with the victim a former Texas County resident – is under way in Texas County Circuit Court.

Benny Volner is charged with killing his cousin, Dustin A. Skaggs, 20, after he believed the victim was having an affair with his wife.

Skaggs, who attended middle school at Houston, was pulled out of a Phillipsburg quarry in 2008 after he disappeared in Douglas County.

Acting on information obtained, authorities found Skaggs inside a 1996 Dodge Intrepid. Douglas County Sheriff Gary Koop said the car and Skaggs’ body were dumped into the water-filled quarry in the Lebanon area.

Arrested and charged were: Benny Volner, Elvis Volner, Dennis Volner and Julia Monnahan Volner, 27. Officials say Benny and Elvis of Cabool are brothers, Dennis is a first-cousin, and Julia is married to Dennis.

Dennis Volner entered a guilty plea earlier and is serving a 15-year prison sentence on second-degree murder and first-degree murder.

According to court documents, Elvis Volner allegedly snuck up on the victim as he prepared to go to work and began bludgeoning him with a pipe. According to a statement in court records, the four are alleged to have been drinking on the morning of the murder and waited near Skaggs’ home for him to leave for work. According to the documents, Julia Volner allegedly flagged down Skaggs as he left for a job at a Mountain Grove nursing home. Deputies said her accomplices waited in her vehicle as she explained to Skaggs her Jeep Cherokee had broken down.

After the attack that included multiple blows, Skaggs was loaded in the back of his car and driven to the quarry, where the suspects made preparations to dump the car the previous day, according to court documents.

 

 

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