Theodosia man charged with stalking, unlawfully possessing gun
A Theodosia man with a lengthy criminal history that includes two previous convictions of aggravated stalking is being held in the Ozark County Jail without bond in connection with a newly filed Ozark County case in which he’s alleged to have stalked and threatened a woman while in possession of a firearm.
Prior and persistent stalker
Orval Don Merriman, born in 1974, is charged with two class D felonies, first-degree stalking and unlawful possession of a firearm. The class D felonies would normally carry a sentence of up to four years in prison if Merriman was convicted; however, he is being charged as a prior and persistent offender based on his past felony convictions, which include two convictions of aggravated stalking in Lawrence County based on incidents that occurred in May 2007 and March 2005. The prior and persistent offender status means that, if convicted, Merriman will face a longer prison sentence.
Merriman has hired Rodney Daniels of Branson as his defense attorney. He was arraigned on Monday. A bond-review hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Sept. 28 before Associate Judge Raymond Gross.
Followed from the jail
According to the probable cause statement filed in the case, at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, a woman was released from the Ozark County Jail’s custody. About 15 minutes later, the woman called the Ozark County Sheriff’s dispatch office and told a dispatcher she believed Merriman was behind her, following her in a vehicle, and that she had an active ex-parte order of protection filed against him that restricts him from being near her.
She told the dispatcher she believed Merriman was waiting for her after she left the jail and had been following her ever since she left. She said that at one point he passed her in his vehicle. She then turned onto another highway, and he was waiting on the side of that roadway. She said that, as she passed, he pulled back out behind her and followed her to her mother’s residence – then continued driving out of the area.
Threats, messages and
an unwanted visit
The next day the woman called the Ozark County Sheriff’s dispatch office again to report that Merriman had come to her hotel room in Theodosia and was outside her room, beating on the door, screaming and yelling and trying to get her to leave the room to talk to him. An officer was dispatched, but Merriman reportedly left the area before the deputy arrived. The woman told Ozark County Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Justin Brown that she knew Merriman had a .45-caliber pistol on him, and she said he had sent her a message saying he would use the pistol to harm himself if the police came to his house. The woman described the gun as a silver firearm with a black handle and a leather holster.
The woman showed Brown several Facebook messages that Merriman had sent her since she’d been released from jail on Sept. 14.
“Merriman made several threats to the victim’s well-being, saying he was tired of playing games and [saying] he would let the games begin,” Brown wrote in the police report. “She took this as a threat due to the prior incident she had been involved in with Merriman where she was run off the road by him.”
Brown noted that some of the messages that Merriman sent the woman indicated that he would harm law enforcement officers if any came to the scene.
Merriman was arrested and taken into custody Sunday, Sept. 19, and was being held in Ozark County Jail at press time Tuesday.