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Prosecutor

The two candidates running for the office of St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney are incumbent Jerrod Mahurin (Democrat) and Melissa Gilliam (Republican). 

Jerrod Mahurin (D)

Jerrod Mahurin, the son of lifelong St. Francois County residents Butch and Bonita Mahurin, graduated from North County High School in 1997. Following high school, Mahurin attended one year at East Central Community College on a baseball scholarship, then transferred and graduated from William Penn University, majoring in history/government with a minor in psychology.

He went on to receive a Juris Doctorate from the Oklahoma City University School of Law.

Mahurin, 39, has been married to Laura Ann Mahurin for over 15 years and has one son, Lukas, who is 12 years old.

In 2012, Mahurin was appointed to his current office of St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney by Governor Jay Nixon. Mahurin was elected to the position in 2014 and has served in the office since.

He is running for reelection, he said, because he wants to continue to serve the community.

“I believe that the prosecutor of a county should be firm but fair in seeking justice,” Mahurin said. “I believe that a prosecutor should have conservative values with a passion to help victims of crimes. I believe that a prosecutor should be a competent and accomplished trial attorney that is capable of handling tough cases when they must be tried.”

Additionally, Mahurin says, a county like St. Francois needs to have a robust, even-handed justice system in order to maintain the integrity of the community.

“The reasons I serve as the prosecutor are to make sure people are protected in the community, have faith in the judicial system, to help those that cannot help themselves, and to prevent our community from turning into a place with no accountability like St. Louis,” he said. “These reasons are what define me as a person and prosecutor and why I am running for reelection.”

Melissa Gilliam (R)

Melissa Gilliam is the daughter of Mary and Von Gilliam and graduated from Farmington High School in 1991. She is married to Daniel Kellogg and has one son, Ayden.

Following graduation from Farmington, Gilliam went on to graduate from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1995 and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law in 1998.

That same year, she began her legal career as a Deputy District Attorney in the Colorado Springs District Attorney’s office. After two years in that office, Gilliam went to work as a prosecutor in the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office.

Until she left the office in 2016, Gilliam handled cases including drug and gun crime, property crime, violent crimes such as assault, kidnapping, robbery and murder and white collar crime. In 2016 she returned to Farmington, working for a local firm for a year before opening her own law firm in 2017.

Now 45, Gilliam has spent 20 years practicing law, the vast majority of that time as a prosecutor. She is now running for the position of St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney in order to make positive changes in that office, she said.

“I am running because I have the experience needed to restore integrity and professionalism to the office of the St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney,” she said. “I went into law to make a difference, and have been lucky to be able to do that over my career — locking up some of the most dangerous criminals in the State of Missouri.”

Since moving back to Farmington after the birth of her son, Gilliam said she has realized she only wants to work from one side of the courtroom.

“I am a prosecutor, it is my calling,” she said. “It’s how I want to give back to my community. I want to take my years of experience prosecuting dozens of homicides and hundreds of violent crimes and use them here at home.

“We have an opioid epidemic in our country and right here in St. Francois County. This is how I can give back to my community. Should I be elected, I cannot think of a higher and more humbling honor.”

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Jacob Scott is a reporter with the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3616 or at jscott@dailyjournalonline.com.

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