Local News Articles

Two Arrested in January Robbery of Liberty State Bank

August 13, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two people have been arrested for the January robbery of Liberty State Bank in Liberty.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 32 year old Vasco (Trey) Landrum and his wife 27 year old Angel Landrum of Possum Hollow Road, Dowelltown were arrested Wednesday night and charged with robbery. Bond for each is $100,000 and they will appear in General Sessions Court on the charges August 16th. The Landrum's are also facing federal charges.

Seven months ago, on Thursday, January 11th, two people pulled off a noon time robbery at the Liberty office of Liberty State Bank taking several thousands of dollars in cash and checks before making their getaway.

Sheriff Ray says the robbers, a male and a female, entered the bank around 12:45 p.m.

Pictures from the bank's surveillance cameras revealed that the female was wearing coveralls and a paintball mask that covered her head. The male was wearing coveralls and a hoodie with a sheet covering part of his face.. He was also wearing a dark colored back pack with an orange colored letter "T" on it.

Sheriff Ray says the female passed to a bank employee a note which stated that this was a robbery while the male then went behind the counter and helped himself to the money from a cash drawer.

The two then left the bank then drove to their home, where they burned the clothes they wore during the robbery as well as the checks they had stolen and some of the money that been ripped or torn, fearing that it would be traceable.

Neither of the bank robbers produced a weapon during the hold up and none of the bank employees were injured.

Sheriff Ray says the Landrum's have given statements implicating themselves in the robbery.

Meanwhile, in a separate investigation, 31 year old Steven Anderson of Cecil Hale Road, Smithville is charged with statutory rape.

He was arrested Wednesday night, accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17 year old female since she was age sixteen.

His bond is set at $100,000 and he will be in General Sessions Court on the charge August 16th.

Grand Jury Issues Brief Report on County Jail

August 9, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Members of the Grand Jury toured the DeKalb County Jail this week and issued a brief report.

The report, signed by all members of the Grand Jury, states that " As a body, we, the grand jury, feel as though that the DeKalb County Jail was found to meet the standards set forth by the state, as well as provided adequate treatment for sick or injured inmates, and they ensure the safety and comfort of all inmates."

2nd Annual Education Celebration A Success

August 9, 2007

The 2nd Annual Education Celebration held Monday night in downtown Smithville was a huge success. A large crowd of students and parents came out to receive free school supplies and meet the faculty and staff of their school. All five DeKalb County schools were represented by faculty and each school’s PTO had a booth providing parents information on how they could be part of their schools PTO. There were many other clubs and organizations on hand giving out supplies and information as well.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby was part of the opening ceremony along with State of Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Susan Cooper. Ms. Cooper and her staff provided a booth called “GetFitTN” which gave away sun block kits, pedometers and information on living a healthy lifestyle.

All students received school supplies provided by area churches and businesses, hotdogs, watermelon, Italian ice and many other items. The DCHS Fighting Tiger Band, DMS cheerleaders, DCHS cheerleaders, and the DeKalb West cheerleaders provided entertainment for the evening.

The Education Celebration began in 2006 as part of the First Day of School America campaign, which is a national program that encourages a partnership between families and schools. This year’s Education Celebration Committee would like to thank all sponsors, vendors and public officials that made this year’s event a success.

More than 60 Indicted by Grand Jury

August 7, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

More than 60 people were indicted by the August term of the DeKalb County Grand Jury this week including four named in sealed indictments.

All those indicted will appear for arraignment in DeKalb County Criminal Court on August 20th at 9:00 a.m.

Defendants and their charges are as follows:

Bobbie Lisa Andrews- Driving under the Influence, Violation of the implied consent law, and public intoxication.

Troy E. Bain- Simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance and possession of a prohibited weapon

Terry R. Barnes- Contributing to the unruly behavior of a minor

Gary Gilmore Britt and Sammy Gene Taylor- Possession of a schedule II controlled substance for sale and delivery, possession of paraphernalia, and simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance.

James David Cargill- Theft over $1,000

Kathyerine Michelle Carr- Sale of a counterfeit schedule II controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia.

Terry Lynn Cummings- Driving under the influence (6th offense), driving while revoked (5th offense), and violation of the implied consent law

Alton David Estes- Burglary, theft under $500 (3 counts), and vandalism under $500 (2 counts)

Amy L. Estes- Possession of a schedule II controlled substance (Cocaine over .5 grams) for sale and delivery, possession of paraphernalia, simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance, and simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance

Barry Cecil Ford- Driving while revoked (4th offense)

Barry A. Gibbs- Theft over $10,000, joyriding, and driving while revoked

Victor Miguel Godinez- Driving under the influence and violation of the implied consent law

Christopher Adam Hale- Aggravated burglary (2 counts), burglary, theft over $500 (3 counts), and theft over $1,000 (2 counts)

Halton Wayne Hicks- Sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance, evading, and driving while suspended (2nd offense)

Aimee D. Jobe- Attempted burglary of an auto, simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, simple possession of a schedule V controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia, and disorderly conduct.

Chad Everette Knowles- Violation of the habitual motor vehicle offender order, evading arrest, driving while revoked (6th offense), possession of a schedule II controlled substance for sale and delivery, simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia, and possession of a weapon for the purpose of going armed.

Rhonda Gail Lucci- Driving under the influence by allowing and public intoxication

William Paul McGee- Reckless endangerment with a motor vehicle and evading arrest

Michael David Mason, Jr.- Possession of a schedule III controlled substance for sale and delivery

Howard Robert Mayo, Jr. and Alton David Estes- Theft under $500 and vandalism under $500.

Lonnie S. Miller- Theft over $1,000

Lonnie Shawn Miller- Theft over $1,000

Johnnie L. Mitchell- Burglary and theft over $500

Treva J. Murphy- Driving under the influence, violation of the implied consent law, and driving while revoked

David H. Pack- Driving while suspended (3 separate charges)

Darren Keith Rhea- Driving under the influence and violation of the implied consent law

Efrin Maldonado Rios- Driving while revoked, driving under the influence (2nd offense), DUI per se, and driving while revoked

Derrick H. Stafford, Ashley L. Hix, Steven W. Goolsby, and Jennifer J. Brazle- Theft over $1,000, burglary (5 counts), theft over $500 (2 counts), and theft under $500 (2 counts)

William D. Sweeney- Driving under the influence, violation of the implied consent law, and violation of the open container law

Charles E. West- Violation of the sexual offender registration and monitoring act

Auston C. Wood- Driving without a license, violation of the registration law, and violation of the financial responsibility law

Aron D. Ponder- Driving under the influence (3rd offense)

Danny Ray Murphy- Sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance and possession of a schedule II controlled substance for sale and delivery

Christopher Neal Barnes- Driving under the influence (5th offense), driving while revoked (4th offense), violation of the implied consent law, violation of the registration law, violation of the financial responsibility law, failing to obey a traffic control device, and violation of the open container law

Brandon Michael Gray- Driving under the influence and violation of the implied consent law

Thomas Jacob Sims- Driving while suspended

Ernest E. Hill, IV- Evading arrest

Michael O. Bly- Forgery (six counts) and passing a forged instrument (6 counts)

Jason Allen- Sale and delivery of over half an ounce of a schedule VI controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia, and simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance

David Matthew Condon- Theft over $1,000 and vandalism over $1,000

Wilburn Estes- Possession of a schedule III controlled substance for sale and delivery and possession of a schedule IV controlled substance for sale and delivery

Ronald Jacobsen- Sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance, possession of a schedule III controlled substance for sale and delivery, possession of paraphernalia, and simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance.

Shane Colin Orlando- False imprisonment and domestic assault

Troy L. Perkins- Possession of a schedule IV controlled substance for sale and delivery, possession of a schedule VI controlled substance for sale and delivery, possession of paraphernalia, and possession of untaxed alcohol.

Joe A. Young- False report

Pablo Gonzales-Rosales- No drivers license, violation of the seat belt law, and violation of the financial responsibility law

Christopher D. Hendrixson- Driving under the influence, violation of the implied consent law, and possession of paraphernalia

David Smoot Judkins- Theft over $500

Larry E. Lattimore- Criminal trespassing

Amanda M. Riley- Possession of paraphernalia

Robin L. Lawson- Sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance and possession of a schedule II controlled substance for sale and delivery

Celina Rena Tate- Driving under the influence (3rd offense), violation of the implied consent law, simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia, and disorderly conduct

Jerry Leonard Rackley- Driving while revoked (4th offense)

Raymond L. Knox, Jr. and William Joseph Givens- Assault x 2

DCHS Listed as "High Priority" School In State's Annual Progress Report

August 7, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Department of Education released its annual progress report this week listing which Tennessee schools and school systems met performance standards for the 2006-07 school year. In accordance with No Child Left Behind, the DeKalb County School System is listed as "Good Standing" as it met necessary benchmarks for the 2006-2007 school year.

According to Supervisor of Instruction Dr. Carol Hendrix, "DeKalb West School, Northside Elementary and Smithville Elementary are all listed as "Good Standing" as they met all No Child Left Behind benchmarks for the 2006-2007 school year in 37 categories. DeKalb Middle School met all benchmarks for the 2006-2007 school year except for the category of "Students with Disabilities".

"DeKalb County High School met all No Child Left Behind benchmarks in academic areas during the 2006-2007 school year but failed to meet the additional indicator graduation rate. DeKalb County High School is listed as a "High Priority" school as a result of not making the benchmark graduation rate for the 2006-2007 school year."

"DeKalb County High School is among 72 other high schools across the state that did not meet all necessary benchmarks according to No Child Left Behind regulations. DeKalb County High School is listed as "School Improvement 2" indicating that DCHS did not improve its graduation rate two years consecutively. DeKalb County, through the appeals process, met the high school graduation rate for the 2005-2006 school year but remains on the list of schools needing improvement as a result of the 2006-2007 graduation rate."

Tennessee reports which schools have made ‘adequate yearly progress' (AYP) toward the goal of 100 percent of students being proficient in reading and math and a 90 percent graduation rate by 2014.

"We need to not lose sight of the fact that behind the test results are real students who rely on these schools for a quality education," Education Commissioner Lana Seivers said. "The nature of Tennessee's accountability system is to analyze the data to identify areas of need and provide customized resources to boost student achievement. The intent of everyone involved is to make the changes necessary to deliver Tennessee students the education they deserve."

Among Tennessee's newest school improvement efforts is the Tennessee Diploma Project, launched in January in affiliation with the America Diploma Project, to strengthen the high school curriculum. This initiative encourages all high school students to complete a common curriculum designed to prepare students for the demands of the workplace and higher education. The state is also realigning all K-12 standards to improve achievement and better prepare students for post-secondary opportunities.

Schools and districts must meet performance standards in 37 categories at each grade span to be deemed in good standing. Schools or districts that fall below the same standard for two or more consecutive years are identified as high priority, and must meet that performance standard for two years in order to return to good standing.

Taylor Gets Eleven Year Prison Sentence For Aggravated Sexual Battery

August 7, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Judge Leon Burns, Jr. handed down sentences to several people in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday.

60 year old Ceylon Taylor entered a best interest plea to a charge of aggravated sexual battery and was sentenced to 11 years to serve in prison. He must abide by all sex offender requirements. He was given jail credit of seventeen months.

21 year old Johnnie L.Mitchell pleaded guilty to statutory rape and was sentenced to two years to serve. He must perform 100 hours of community service work . He will not be on the sexual offender registry, under terms of his plea agreement. Mitchell's case will run concurrently with a theft conviction for which he is facing three years in Putnam County.

19 year old Homer Anthony Petty, II, charged with burglary other than a habitation and theft over $1,000, was granted supervised judicial diversion probation for a period of two years. The cases are to run concurrently. He must perform 100 hours of community service work and pay $2,575 restitution to Young's Plant Farm.

34 year old Arthur Dawson pleaded guilty to sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Hydromorphine), sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (cocaine), and sale of a schedule II controlled substance over .5 grams of cocaine. The sentences are to run concurrently. He received an eight year sentence, split confinement, with one year to serve and was fined a total of $2,000. He must make restitution of $200 to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office and was given jail credit of eight months.

44 year old Berna D. Barnes pleaded guilty to possession of a schedule IV controlled substance for sale and delivery. She received a three year sentence, all suspended, and she was fined $2,000 but the fine was waived.

20 year old Joshua L. Batey, charged with sale of a schedule VI controlled substance over half an ounce, was granted judicial diversion probation for a period of two years. He must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment, make restitution of $175 to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office, and pay a $2,000 fine. Batey may seek employment after two years of successful probation.

24 year old Christopher Martin, charged with sale of a schedule II controlled substance, was granted judicial diversion for a period of three years. He must perform 100 hours of community service work, make restitution of $20 to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office, and pay a $2,000 fine.

25 year old Daniel Edward Agee pleaded guilty to driving under the influence (1st offense). He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, suspended to 48 hours incarceration in the DeKalb County Jail with the balance on PSI supervised probation. Agee was fined $360 and he must attend DUI school.

40 year old Patricia Lynn Durham, charged with sale of a schedule III controlled substance, was granted pre-trial diversion probation for a period of two years under a memorandum of understanding. She must pay $60 restitution to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office and undergo an alcohol and drug assessment.

Many Community Supporters Rally Around Chief Stufano- Aldermen Fail to Override Mayoral Veto

August 6, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Many community supporters of Smithville Police Chief Tom Stufano rallied to his defense during Monday night's meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen

The city board also failed to override a mayoral veto of the council's decision three weeks ago to place Chief Stufano on administrative leave with pay.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson, at the very beginning of the meeting Monday night, called for a vote on the override. A "yes" vote was for the veto to be upheld. A "no" vote was for the veto to be overridden. Aldermen Willie Thomas and Jerry Hutchins' Sr. voted "no" and Aldermen Steve White and Cecil Burger voted "yes". Alderman Tonya Sullivan "passed" saying "I had several concerns. I've worked with Mr (John) Pryor (city attorney) to try to come to some conclusion on that. I'm still a little undecided so I'm going to pass. I still have some concerns."

On Monday, July 16th, the Smithville Aldermen, on a 3 to 1 vote, decided to place Chief Stufano on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of an independent investigation into allegations of misconduct lodged against him by Roy Ray.

Ray has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court against Chief Stufano, the Smithville Police Department, and the City of Smithville claiming he suffered injuries and that his civil and constitutional rights were violated during a misdemeanor traffic stop in February.

In a letter to City Attorney Pryor dated Wednesday, July 18th , Mayor Hendrixson gave notice that he was casting a veto to block the suspension of Chief Stufano. In it he wrote " I believe the action taken by this Board could be potential exposure to future litigation and I think any action of administrative leave for Chief Stufano is premature."

The aldermen were also made aware of the Mayor's veto.

Meanwhile, in a letter to city attorney Pryor, District Attorney General Pro Tempore Anthony (Tony) Craighead wrote last week that "The District Attorney's Office will not be requesting a TBI investigation" into the Stufano/Ray matter.

Near the end of the city board meeting Monday night, Barbara Ward presented a petition, signed by 225 people, in support of Chief Stufano.

Ward, reading from the petition, said "We, the undersigned, are residents of Smithville-DeKalb County and are signing in support of Chief Tom Stufano. We feel he has made a positive impact on our city. Along with his officers, Chief Stufano has made Smithville a safer place for tax paying citizens and a dangerous place for criminals. We're not willing to sacrifice the progress that has been made against crime in the name of politics. We feel that Chief Stufano has brought credibility, integrity, and professionalism to the Smithville Police Department."

Many who attended the meeting showed their support for Chief Stufano with thunderous applause and rousing cheers as Ward concluded her remarks and presented the petition to the mayor and aldermen.

The crowd broke out into applause and cheers again after Smithville Police Investigator Bill Elliott's remarks in support of Chief Stufano. " I'm just here to state my mind. I look out and I see a lot of people out here, most of which I've spoken to and most of which support myself, the rest of the department I work with, and my boss, the Chief."

"About three weeks ago, a decision was made I feel was very uninformed. There wasn't any facts to it and the board, I feel, made a decision without knowing what they were trying to decide. I would ask the board of aldermen here to look out and see these people. They're here to support us and you're here to represent them. I would ask the next time a decision like this is made to take some time, think about the decision you have to make, and think about the people you represent. They stand behind us. I would hope you would take the time to get to know me and the rest of the department before making a decision on my career."

Two Charged with Violation of Sex Offender Law

August 6, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department is one of the agencies responsible for the reporting of Sex Offenders.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the Sheriff's Department does frequent checks on offenders to make sure they live at the address they have listed. Sex Offender's must report in person once within 7 days of their date of birth to the Sheriff's Department or their reporting agency. Offenders must also report anytime they change their address, employment, and/or school within a 48 hour time period.

During the last few weeks, the Sheriff's Department has charged the following people.

30 year old Billy Jason Lackey of Pine Orchard was charged on July 31st with violation of the sex offender law where he changed his address and failed to report it.

29 year old James Allen Hesson was charged with violation of the sex offender law on July 31st where he changed his address and failed to report it.

More arrests are pending.

To view all Sex Offenders in DeKalb County and other counties in Tennessee, go to www.tbi.state.tn.us and click on Sex Offender registry.

Meanwhile,. another person has been arrested in the recent DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Alexandria City Police Department Drug Sting.

65 year old Gordon Lee Atnip of Buffalo Valley Road Baxter was arrested on August 2nd for two counts of Sale and Delivery of a Schedule III and IV Drugs (Hydrocodone and valium). The court date is August 16th. His bond is set at $80,000.

Thunderstorm Causes Widespread Power Outage and Problems for Central Dispatch

August 5, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A severe thunderstorm with high winds, heavy rains, and lightning rumbled over parts of DeKalb County Saturday afternoon causing some damage with downed tree limbs and a widespread power outage.

Director Brad Mullinax says the 911 Central Dispatch Center was also affected. "There was quite a bit of damage across the county. A lot of the county experienced power outages and DTC pretty well took a direct hit at their central office. Around 4:30 p.m., 911 dispatchers contacted me and reported that they were experiencing problems with the administrative 911 line. I arrived at the 911 center shortly after that and discovered that one of our main administrative lines, 215-3000, was not functioning properly. We did some further testing and discovered that our 911 trunks were down as well. I immediately contacted DTC the best way I could because their repair line was down and we weren't even able to contact that number. I called the plant manager at home and he told me he was aware they were experiencing some problems and said he'd give me a call back as soon as he arrived at the central office."

"When I got here and discovered what we had, we took action and forwarded our 911 trunks to Putnam County 911. They (Putnam County) were the secondary piece out for our area. They took our 911 calls and relayed them to us over a mutual aid radio frequency. We actually routed everything to Putnam County. There are some areas of the county on a wireless telephone call that does hit Cannon County's piece out and we did receive a call of a structure fire in the area that hit Cannon County's tower. That was reported to C-Com and in turn they relayed it to us. We did everything we could to try to get those calls routed as soon as we could over to our secondary piece out."

"I have to compliment them (DTC). When I talked to the plant manager, he was trying to do some things from home, but I think he was unable to remotely administer the phone switch from there, so he immediately got enroute. We were their number one priority. They got on our problem first and foremost and within probably an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes after I reported the incident, we started seeing things come back up so I was very pleased with their service."

Saturday Fires Cause Extensive Damage

August 5, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Fires destroyed one home and caused extensive damage to another residence as well as a pickup truck Saturday.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says the first fire occurred around noon at the mobile home of Gary Hawkins at 6125 Lancaster Road.

Hawkins claims he was connecting a 100 pound propane tank, when flammable gases from the leaking tank ignited, causing the mobile home to catch on fire along with a fiberglass camper shell on his pickup truck.

Hawkins got in the truck and drove it to the Long Branch Camp area near Center Hill Dam, where he backed it down a boat ramp about 25 feet offshore into the lake to extinguish the fire. His efforts at putting out the blaze in this manner were unsuccessful but members of the DeKalb County Fire Department main station and the Temperance Hall station came to the scene and extinguished the fire after Campbell's wrecker service pulled the truck from the water. Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the TWRA were also on the scene.

Green says there was apparently no release of pollutants or contaminants into the lake as the result of the burning truck in the water, which would have required an environmental cleanup.

Meanwhile, Hawkins' mobile home was too far gone by the time it was reported and could not be saved. Green says it burned to the ground.

The second fire occurred later in the day at the home of Jonathan Willoughby at 1151 New Home Road.

After a passing thunderstorm, which caused a power outage, the Willoughby family left their residence to visit a neighbor, and the fire started while they were gone.

Green says neighbors reported seeing flames and heavy smoke coming from the Willoughby home.

Firefighters were alerted and rushed to the scene. They were able to keep the fire contained to a front bedroom and the attic area, but the home received extensive heat, smoke, and water damage.

Members of the DeKalb County Fire Department's main station responded along with the Cookeville Highway, Short Mountain Highway, Blue Springs, and Liberty stations as well as DeKalb EMS and county deputies.

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