Local News Articles

Five Sentenced In DeKalb County Criminal Court

November 21, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Five defendants were sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Friday after entering guilty pleas under negotiated settlements.

The presiding judge was Leon Burns, Jr.

20 year old Danny Hugh Kennedy III pleaded guilty to simple possession and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended. He will be on supervised probation for six months and unsupervised probation for six months if all fines, fees, and costs are paid. He must perform 25 hours of community service work and undergo an alcohol and drug assessment.

22 year old Melody K. Mencer pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended. She was fined $150. The case is to run concurrently with a criminal court case against her in Warren County.

29 year old Walter Ray Pedigo pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance. He received a three year sentence all suspended to DOC probation. The fine was waived.

53 year old Julie Murphy pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance, sale of a counterfeit controlled substance, and two counts of sale of a schedule III controlled substance. All the sentences are to run concurrently for a total of four years but she was given credit for time served and will be on supervised probation for the remainder of her term. All fines were waived in the case but she must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow the prescribed treatments.

60 year old James Edward Murphy pleaded guilty to two counts of sale of a schedule II controlled substance and two counts of sale of a schedule III controlled substance. All the sentences are to run concurrently for a total of four years, all suspended to one year of probation supervised by community corrections and the remaining three years on DOC probation.. All fined were waived in the case and he was given credit for time served.

Smithville Police Make Arrest In Burglary At Brookview Apartments

November 21, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department has apparently solved a burglary at Brookview Apartments on Walker Drive with the arrest of a 39 year old man.

Police Chief Thomas J. Stufano says James Nathaniel McKissack, a resident of Brookview Apartments, has been charged with aggravated burglary and resisting arrest. His bond is set at $3,500.

In a prepared news release, Chief Stufano says \"On Sunday night, Smithville Police Officers responded to Brookview Apartments at 740 Walker Drive to a reported burglary. After a short investigation with both the victim and witnesses, it was determined that the suspect, McKissack, lived in a neighboring apartment. A computer check also showed that the subject was wanted for a violation of probation warrant.\"

\"Additional officers and Sheriff's deputies responded to the apartment complex as the suspect was holdup in his apartment. Officers hearing noises coming from the apartment made repeated attempts for someone to come to the door. After a relay of phone calls between the occupants of that apartment and other neighbors, four individuals came out to speak to officers. It was ascertained that McKissack was not coming out. Officers tried to establish communications with McKissack for over 15 minutes before finally contacting him hiding in a back bedroom.\"

\"Further investigation at the scene disclosed that McKissack had pried open the front door to the burglarized apartment earlier in the day and entered, stealing cash and prescription drugs. Detectives were able to establish that witnesses saw McKissack coming out of the residence while the occupants were away. Eventually, the residents were notified shortly after their return home that evening.\"

\"Smithville Police are investigating a number of similar burglaries in the same area and are asking anyone with information to contact Sergeant Steve Deffendoll at 597-8211.\"

Chief Stufano says the Smithville Police Department is committed to investigating all crimes within the city limits and asks for citizens support. \"Neighborhood Crime Watch works and thanks to our growing network of Neighborhood Crime Watchers we are making a difference.\"

Smithville Police Charge McKissack With Three More Burglaries

November 23, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 39 year old Smithville man, already charged with a burglary of one residence at Brookview Apartments, has now been charged with the burglary of three others there.

Police Chief Thomas J. Stufano says James Nathaniel McKissack, a resident of Brookview Apartments, was charged on Sunday with aggravated burglary and resisting arrest. \"On November 19th, Smithville Police arrested MsKissack of 740 Walker Drive for his participation in a burglary of a neighbor's apartment located at Brookview Apartments.\"

\"Detectives who had been working the case have now discovered that McKissack had also broken into three other neighbors apartments and stole a wide array of items including a laptop, pot and pans, sneakers, boxes of candy that are sold by school children, jewelry, cleaning supplies, makeup and video games. In one instance, the neighbors had been away and were unaware of the break-in and theft to their residence until police officers showed up with their property. All of the stolen items were eventually recovered in McKissack's apartment.\"

Additional charges of burglary were placed against McKissack at the DeKalb County Jail with bond set at $58,500.

Chief Stufano says \"this is another case where citizen cooperation has afforded the Police Department with valuable information which helped resolve crime in our city.\"

Citizen Tip Leads To Arrests Of Two Men On Drug Charges

November 24, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

A tip from a concerned citizen to the Smithville Police Department led to the arrest of two men on drug charges Wednesday night.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says Jimmy Brown Martin of 2454 Hurricane Ridge Road is charged with simple possession of marijuana and Billy Joe Griffith of 9659 Short Mountain Highway is charged with possession of a schedule IV drug and sale and delivery of marijuana.

Bond for Martin is $1,500 and Griffith is under a $5,000 bond.

Chief Stufano says \"On Wednesday night at approximately 8:00 p.m., Smithville Police responded to the MAPCO gas station at Highway 56 and Highway 70 to investigate a reported suspicious incident in the parking lot.\"

\"A concerned citizen had called relaying that the occupants of two vehicles were acting suspiciously and possibly selling narcotics. Officers responded, locating the vehicles and subjects, and after a short investigation arrested the two men.\"

\"During the investigation officers found three bags of marijuana totaling approximately 24.4 grams in Griffith's vehicle. In addition to Griffith's arrest, his vehicle was seized under the State's Drug Forfeiture Act.\"

\"Martin was arrested after officers found a bag of marijuana hidden on his person.\"

Chief Stufano says \"Smithville Police appreciate the overwhelming response our citizens have shown in contacting us about suspicious persons or incidents. Our police officers are committed to actively investigating all criminal concerns within the city limits and want you to know that our residents safety and security is our number one priority.\"

Elderly Liberty Woman Seriously Injured In Crash

November 25, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 90 year old Liberty woman was seriously injured in a two vehicle traffic accident at 11:52 a.m. Friday at the intersection of Highways 70 and 53.

Trooper Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Mary Anderson was northbound on State Highway 53 in a 1993 Caprice Classic and was turning west onto Highway 70 when she pulled into the path of an eastbound 1997 Chevy Blazer, driven by 44 year old David Carter of Lavergne.

Trooper Raymond says Anderson was partially ejected upon impact and was trapped between the two vehicles. Bystanders at the scene pushed the Chevy Blazer back enough to remove her from the wreckage.

Anderson was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb West School where she was airlifted by a Life Flight helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

Carter was not believed to have been seriously injured.

Others on the scene rendering assistance included members of the Liberty Fire Department, County Deputies, Constables, and Sergeant Billy Prater of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Kentucky Man Charged In Local Thefts

November 27, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has apparently solved three recent burglaries and thefts with the arrest of a 27 year old Kentucky man, who was in this area doing some contract construction work

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Scottie Baird of Pine Knot, Kentucky is charged with theft of property under $500, two counts of burglary, and two counts of theft of property over $1,000.

Sheriff Ray says on October 17th, the Sheriff's Department received a report of a theft at a residence on Hurricane Ridge Road in which some plywood and landscaping bricks had been stolen.

Another theft was reported on October 10th. Someone had broken into a barn on Four Seasons Road and stolen sheets of OSB board, sheets of flooring lumber, pressure treated wood, and a refrigerator and a stove.

Sheriff Ray says authorities believe the same person went back to the barn on October 13th and stole several pieces of expensive virgin beechboard wood.

Baird was identified as a suspect through the investigation and he was subsequently arrested and charged in the case.

He is currently under a $55,000 bond.

Baxter Man Arrested For Making Threats By Phone Against Officers At The DeKalb County Jail

November 27, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

A Baxter man, formerly of Smithville, was arrested Monday after calling the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and making threatening remarks to a correctional officer.

Brian Roberts of Hamer's Street, Baxter is charged with retaliation of a past action, which is a Class E felony, for making threats against law enforcement officers.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says at around 1:50 a.m. Monday (today) one of the correctional officers at the jail received a call from someone wanting to know the officer's name. Sheriff Ray says the caller threatened the officer, saying he was a \"dead man\". The caller also made threats against other members of the department, saying he would be \"waiting to kill them when they get off from work.\"

After making the threats the caller hung up.

Sheriff Ray says members of the department immediately contacted him and he began an investigation. Sheriff Ray says \" We traced the call through the phone company and found out where the call came from.\"

The call originated from a residence on the Old Bildad Road in DeKalb County, but Roberts, who had made the call, had left by the time officers arrived.

Roberts was later arrested by Putnam and DeKalb County authorities at his Baxter home and charged in the case. He is currently under a $50,000 bond.

Sheriff Ray says Roberts, who formerly lived on Midway Road in DeKalb County, has been in trouble with the law before on various charges and is currently listed on the state's sex offender registry.

Four Arrested On Drug Charges By The Sheriff's Department

November 29, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested four people on drug charges late Tuesday night after a routine traffic stop on South Mountain Street in Smithville turned up crack cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and a loaded weapon.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 23 year old Chris Martin of Cookeville Highway, Smithville is charged with possession of a weapon with intent to go armed and possession of a schedule II controlled substance (crack cocaine) with intent to sell and deliver. His bond is set at $52,500.

18 year old Brandon Gurley of Foster Road, Smithville is charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance (crack cocaine) with intent to sell or deliver. His bond is $50,000.

20 year old Danielle Staggs of Will Road, Woodbury is charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance (crack cocaine) with intent to sell or deliver. Her bond is $50,000. She is also wanted on a failure to appear charge in Wilson County for underage consumption.

22 year old Amy Estes of Banks Pisgah Road, Smithville is charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance (crack cocaine) with intent to sell or deliver, possession of a schedule II controlled substance (methamphetamine), possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana), and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her total bond is $62,000.

Estes' vehicle, a 1997 Thunderbird was also seized, some cash was recovered, and the Tennessee Department of Revenue will be contacted for collection of the drug tax on the items found.

Sheriff Ray says after deputies made the traffic stop, they suspected there might be drugs in the car so they contacted the Smithville Police Department and requested that their drug dog be brought to the scene. The dog alerted on the vehicle and upon a search of the car, officers found in excess of six grams of crack cocaine and a loaded 9 millimeter semi-automatic handgun.

Sheriff Ray says upon a field interview, Estes was found to have concealed some methamphetamine and marijuana in her body cavity.

City To Enforce Euthanasia Policy At Animal Shelter

November 29, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Some pet lovers and city workers at the Smithville Animal Shelter are up in arms over a city policy requiring homeless animals to be euthanized if no one claims them after ten days, a policy that has not always been followed.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson visited the shelter Monday and found that the number of cats and dogs being kept there exceeded the capacity of the facility.

Hendrixson reportedly told the workers there that the city would have to adhere to the policy in the interest of the welfare and safety of the public.

In a prepared news release, Mayor Hendrixson writes that \" The City of Smithville would like the citizens and quests of our area to know that our City provides Animal Control Services so as to preserve the safety and security of all. It is inherent in our nature as responsible people to both love and cherish all animals and treat them with both respect and compassion. With this ideal in mind, it is incumbent upon us to respect the laws and ordinances that govern our society when it comes to abandonment, over-breeding, left to stray or lack of supervision of our animals. As most would agree, these unfortunate occurrences which left uncontrolled create safety issues for our children and cause needless suffering to the abandoned animals.\"

\" The City, in cooperation with interested parties, has set up a facility to temporarily house these discarded animals. This facility was created to temporarily refuge wayward animals for a period of 10 days in a humane condition so that owners could readily find their cherished assets when lost. The shelter also serves as a temporary holding facility for animals that have been picked up for displaying vicious tendencies.\"

\" Although most communities our size can not offer this type of service due to budget and manpower constraints, the City of Smithville strives to afford our citizens the very best in guidance and leadership.\"

\" Unfortunately, the City cannot support a long-term self- sustaining commitment to house these animals any longer than 10 days with the ever-increasing population of stray animals far exceeding our potential to adequately and humanely support this initiative. Our Animal Control personnel contact outside sources to help place these unwanted animals with loving homes, but accumulation far exceeds the demand for adoption. As a result, it is with deep sadness that some of these animals may have to be humanely euthanized.\"

\"It is the City's position to work within the established chartered guidelines of 10 days and aggressively seek adoption with any agency to help these animals and avoid the alternative.\"

Some of the animals have been adopted since Tuesday.

If you would like to adopt an animal from the shelter call 597-1363. The Shelter is located behind the county highway garage just off Smith Road.

Man Wanted By Sheriff's Department Arrested After Ground And Aerial Search

November 30, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

A ground and aerial search was conducted Wednesday afternoon for a man wanted by the Sheriff's Department after he abandoned the van he was driving and disappeared into a thicket just north of town.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 37 year old Michael Vance, who alluded authorities for several hours, is now in custody. He was picked up Wednesday night on Adams Street not far from where he had broken into a residence.

Vance was wanted by the Sheriff's Department for aggravated burglary and violation of probation. He now faces additional charges of driving on a revoked license (2nd offense), and felony evading arrest. His bond on all the charges totals $22,000 but he is being held without bond on the violation of probation warrant.

According to Sheriff Ray, the incident began Wednesday afternoon after a deputy spotted Vance driving a van. The officer got behind the van, which turned from Church Street in Smithville, onto Holmes Creek Road, and then onto a side dirt road. Vance got out of the van and fled on foot. Two other people were with Vance in the van but they did not flee and are not in trouble with the law.

Sheriff Ray says county deputies and officers of the Smithville Police Department joined in a ground search and members of the Warren County Sheriff's Department conducted an aerial search by helicopter, but Vance could not be found. Ray says officers even checked out a shed in the area where Vance was known to stay, but no one was there.

Sheriff Ray says since the search was being conducted in the area of Northside Elementary School, officials of the DeKalb County School System were contacted and the school was placed under lock down for a period of time. However, neither students or teachers had to stay longer than the regular school hours.

Vance has a criminal history having been charged in the past with burglary and theft, drug offenses, and carrying a prohibited weapon.

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