Judge Kenneth Hayden declared a mistrial on Tuesday morning after conflicts emerged in the court-ordered sentencing assessment report of a former Camdenton fast food restaurant owner charged in an incident with an underage employee in 2013.

Judge Kenneth Hayden declared a mistrial on Tuesday morning after conflicts emerged in the court-ordered sentencing assessment report of a former Camdenton fast food restaurant owner charged in an incident with an underage employee in 2013.
Dennis “Denny” Lee Purdy was originally charged with forcible sodomy, statutory sodomy in the second degree and sexual abuse related to an incident on June 4, 2013 involving an underage employee in the basement of the business on N. Business Route 5. Purdy was arrested within days of the alleged incident, but his trial has been reset a number of times since being arraigned.
The mistrial ruling stems from an Alford plea and guilty plea entered in Camden County Circuit Court, prior to the start of jury selection for his trial. On May 23, 2016, Purdy changed his plea in the case, entering an Alford plea of guilty to felony deviate sexual assault and a plea of guilty to misdemeanor sexual misconduct in the first degree.
An Alford plea means the defendant does not admit guilt in the charge but that he or she would likely be found guilty based on the evidence.
Purdy was in court July 12 in a gray polo and khaki pants flanked by his defense attorney Fawzy T. Simon. On the other side of the aisle, Camden County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Gilley represented the state during the sentencing hearing.
When Judge Hayden began reviewing the sentencing assessment report completed by a probation officer with Purdy, both prosecutor and defense attorneys objected to several portions of the report, which is used to determine the defendant’s sentencing.
The defense objected to several mistakes in the report related to a wrong date, misinformation about Purdy and what Simon called “uncharted and unrelated allegations” regarding the defendant’s character. Judge Hayden granted Simon’s objection based on a recent Missouri court ruling and struck a paragraph in the report that the State had planned to use as propensity evidence against the defendant. Propensity evidence is evidence that the defendant engaged in prior bad acts or bad behavior and is thus more likely to engage in those bad acts of behavior again.
The main discrepancy, Hayden determined, was that Purdy’s testimony on May 23 was in direct conflict to what Purdy stated during the sentencing assessment.
“On May 23, you said you placed your hands under her waistband, one thing was not disputed,” Hayden said, addressing Purdy. “You did not have her consent. In the SAR, you said she asked, it seemed to say you had her consent?”
“I didn’t have her consent, “Purdy responded. “I don’t know why I said that.”
Gilley noted that there were numerous occasions in the report where it seemed Purdy was trying to say consent was given, as opposed to what Purdy said under oath on May 23.
Hayden determined that there was factual basis for the plea, but now the testimony had changed. Hayden swore in Purdy and asked again if consent was ever given, in which Purdy replied “I don’t believe so, I never asked her for consent.”
After determining the account given to the probation officer was incorrect and inconsistent with previous testimony, Hayden declared a mistrial and set aside both counts and withdrew Purdy’s pleas. Because Hayden had already heard evidence and facts presented, he recused himself from the case.
The case will now be heard by Judge Stan Moore, but a date for a new sentencing hearing has not been scheduled. The Lake Sun plans to continue to follow this story.