COLE COUNTY, Mo. — Charges against Tonka Way-Con Ponder — related to the fatal shooting of Blane Curley in a 2021 biker-gang-related gun battle on the Lake Ozark Strip — have been dropped.
That, at least, is what everyone has been assuming since the two Felony Assault and Armed Criminal Action charges against Ponder no longer appear in CaseNet, Missouri’s statewide case repository for criminal and civil cases. Typically, when charges against an individual are dropped or the individual is found innocent in court, the case file is removed from the public-facing side of CaseNet.
LakeExpo has spoken with a source familiar with the situation, who confirmed the charges had been dropped. It’s unclear whether the charges could be refiled at a future date.
Of the major development for a much-buzzed-about case at Lake of the Ozarks, prosecutors aren’t saying a word.
Earlier this year, LakeExpo learned Miller County Prosecutor Ben Winfrey had turned the gun battle investigation over to Cole County Prosecutor Locke Thompson’s office. Locke did not return a phone call to LakeExpo, and the Cole County Prosecutor’s Office repeatedly said they would not comment on the case. When asked to confirm whether charges had been dropped, Winfrey referred LakeExpo to Cole County.
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