Information Center

Major Crimes


The attorneys in the Major Crimes Unit have substantial experience in prosecuting the most dangerous offenders. This unit prosecutes homicides, serious assaults, vehicular assaults, dangerous and career criminals, home invasions, robberies, and dangerous drug offenses. The Major Crimes Unit attorneys are:


Russell Dempsey - First Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Russell returned to the Greene County Prosecutor's Office in January 2005 after working for the City of Branson's law departments for two years. He received his undergraduate degree in 1999 from Central Missouri State University with a major in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. Russell received his Juris Doctorate from Washburn University School of Law where he graduated with Dean's Honors. Upon graduation from law school in 2002, Russell began working for the Greene County Prosecutor's Office. While in the Prosecutor's Office, Russell has been a member of the Traffic Unit (now General Crimes), the Person's Unit, and the Major Crimes Unit. Russell has extensive training and jury trial experience in the prosecution of violent crimes. In January of 2011, he was promoted to be the First Assistant of the Major Crime Unit.

In addition to his official duties, Russell is an instructor at the Springfield Police Academy as a POST certified instructor. Russell is currently a member of the Task Force on Gangs and Youth Violence and a former member of the Child Fatality Review Board. In 2013, Russell was selected to receive the Lon O. Hocker Award for excellence in trial practice by the Missouri Bar Association.


Clayton Ballard - Senior Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Clayton joined the Greene County Prosecutor's Office in August of 2008. In 2004, he graduated Summa Cum Laude with undergraduate degrees from Missouri Southern State University, in Joplin, Missouri, majoring in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement. Clayton received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri School of Law in May of 2008. While in law school, Clayton was the Associate Managing Editor of the Journal of Dispute Resolution. He also represented the law school at the Regional Mock Trial competition. When he began working as an Assistant Greene County Prosecutor, he initially worked in the General Crimes Unit. In the fall of 2010, Clayton was assigned to the Major Crimes Unit to handle felony drug possession cases and the specialty courts.


Ben McBride - Senior Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Mr. McBride initially joined the Greene County Prosecutor's Office in November, 2008. In early 2012, Ben had a brief time out of the office, but returned in July, 2012 as a Senior Assistant in the Major Crimes Unit. Ben’s primary focus is prosecuting crimes involving trafficking, manufacturing, distribution and possession with intent to distribute common street drugs. Ben has also been cross-designated as a Special Assistant United States Attorney to assist in the federal prosecution of synthetic marijuana cases.

Prior to joining the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office, Ben graduated from Springfield Catholic High School, received his undergraduate degree from Oklahoma City University majoring in History and Political science in 2003, and graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law with his Juris Doctorate in 2006 where he was a member of the Moot Court Society and the ATLA Trial Advocacy Team. Upon obtaining his license to practice law, Ben first gained valuable experience in a private civil practice. Upon joining the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office, he was assigned to the General Crimes Unit with an emphasis on financial/white collar crimes.

In addition to his official duties, Ben is an instructor at the Springfield Police Academy as a POST certified instructor and is an adjunct instructor for the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department at Missouri State University.


Philip Fuhrman - Senior Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

Philip joined the Greene County Prosecutor's Office in August of 2009. He received his undergraduate degree from William Jewell College, majoring in Political Science. Philip received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law in 2009. Philip first worked for the Greene County Prosecutor's Office as a Rule 13 intern during the summer of 2008. Upon graduation, he returned to our office first working as a prosecutor in the General Crimes Unit and then in the Person's Unit. In 2012, he was promoted to Senior Assistant in the General Crimes Unit where he focuses on prosecuting felony crimes and assisting in training our new prosecutors.


James Whiteside – Senior Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

James joined the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office in March of 2013. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Southwest Missouri State University and his Juris Doctorate from the St. Louis University School of Law. James served in Warren County Missouri as Assistant Prosecuting Attorney and led the Multi-Disciplinary Team in the investigation and prosecution of child abuse and domestic violence, and also served as a member of the Warren County Drug Court. James was then appointed by Governor Matt Blunt to serve as Prosecuting Attorney for Montgomery County Missouri. While in Montgomery County, James chaired the Child Fatality Review Board, served as a board member of the Missouri Association of Drug Court Professionals, and was appointed to the Supreme Court Rules Committee for Alternative Treatment Courts. James is now a Senior Assistant Greene County Prosecutor in the Major Crimes Unit with emphasis on dangerous and career criminals, home invasions, and robberies.