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      Conviction appeal for exotic dancer's murder denied

      An appeal of Kelly Simino's conviction for the 2006 murder of girlfriend Brandi Mathews has been denied.
      An appeal of Kelly Simino's conviction for the 2006 murder of girlfriend Brandi Mathews has been denied.

      The 45-year-old was convicted in the killing of the 23-year-old exotic dancer after a six-day jury trial in October 2011.

      Mathews worked as a dancer under the name "Faith" at an Osage Beach strip club when she disappeared in the fall of 2006.

      Three years later, hikers stumbled upon her remains under a bridge in a creek bed in rural Miller County near Eldon.

      Simino was Mathews' boyfriend at the time she disappeared. He was arrested the day after the remains were found for unrelated charges.

      In 2011, Miller County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Howard, who had taken over the Mathews case from the Attorney General's Office, filed and prosecuted the murder case against Simino.

      Simino has been in jail since his 2009 arrest. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the murder, to be served after an additional 11 years for sentencing related to illegal drugs, resisting arrest and driving without a license.

      In court documents obtained by KRCG 13, investigators report that two witnesses have gone on record saying that Simino had confessed to breaking Mathews' neck. One witness told investigators that Simino was emotional when he confessed to killing her and that he said it was an accident.

      Investigators also mention a third witness who positively identified Simino as the man she saw choking a woman on a bridge. Police say it was the same bridge where Mathew??s remains were found.