Audrain County Prosecuting Attorney Jacob Shellabarger announced that Richard Bernard Chambers, age 30, of Mexico, Mo., was found guilty of one count of Rape in the Second Degree, and one count of Domestic Assault in the Third Degree in April, 2015. The jury found
Chambers guilty of the charges after deliberating for nearly three hours. Chambers was sentenced June 1 to 15 years in prison for the rape and one year for domestic assault.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Ashley Turner and Shellabarger tried the case April 29 & 30 to an Audrain County jury of seven women & five men. Chambers, a prior and persistent felony offender, has a history of felony and misdemeanor domestic violence.
“Richard Chambers took no responsibility for the prolonged abuse, pain and suffering he caused to this survivor,” Turner said. “She had the courage to rise above her abuser’s power and control to tell this jury and our community about what happened to her. With this jury’s conviction of Mr. Chambers, and Judge Dalton imposing the maximum sentence, this young woman can grow stronger, more confident and discover who she is beyond this abuse knowing she was heard and he was held accountable for what he did. The jury was very attentive to the evidence, and listened intently to the facts through this trial. This jury and this sentence deliver a powerful message to this community that those who hurt others with sexual or domestic violence deserve the maximum sentence the law allows.”
“Our victim’s advocate, Leigh Thomas, and our community victims’ advocacy groups, including the Audrain County Crisis Intervention Services have been patient beyond measure and supportive through the entire criminal justice process, and will continue to provide that wrap-around support that is crucial for victims of violence – that they are supported, safe and protected. APA Ashley Turner’s hard work paid off in a well-tried case,” Shellabarger said. “Our community must make sure the victim-blaming mentality is put to rest, as this victim faced threats, intimidation and mistreatment from others in the community – calling names, physical abuse, and other harassment – for telling the truth about her abuser. The focus can – and should – stay on the abuser, his actions and require him to be accountable for the crime, not putting the victim on trial. A fifteen-year sentence shows that violent crimes will carry consequences.”
“The Mexico Public Safety Department deserves high praise for its caring, compassionate and highly thorough investigation in this case,” Shellabarger added. “My office, together with MPSD, provided the jurors and this victim with a clear, consistent & thorough investigation and prosecution with the safety of the victim and the community first. It is the team concept of experience, knowledge and combined resources which allowed this case to be fully investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and allowing justice to prevail for this young woman.”