Local News Articles

Sosa Pleads Guilty to Abuse of a Corpse

March 4, 2008
Dwayne Page

Lillian Elezabeth Sosa will be released from jail on Monday.

The 18 year old woman who gave birth to a stillborn child on October 26th at the El Rancho Restaurant on West Broad Street where she worked, pleaded guilty by information to "abuse of a corpse" Tuesday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

Judge David Patterson sentenced Sosa to two years, all suspended to time served. She was given credit for the 130 days she has been in custody from October 26th, 2007 to March 4th, 2008. She will be released on Department of Corrections probation Monday, March 10th.

Sosa was represented by April Craven, Assistant Public Defender, and Ben Day served as the court interpreter for Sosa, who speaks little or no English.

Sosa was initially charged with second degree murder in the death of her child, but the charge was dropped after an autopsy revealed that the infant was stillborn. Instead, Sosa was charged with abuse of a corpse, which is a class E felony.

According to Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings, Sosa apparently locked herself in the ladies restroom of the restaurant and gave birth to the child on Friday night, October 26th. She then came out of the restroom, told her boss that she needed to leave because she was sick, and called for someone to give her a ride home. Sosa's aunt reportedly came to the restaurant and picked her up.

Jennings says the child was discovered around 9:20 p.m. by a waitress, Karla Leon, who went into the ladies rest room to clean up, as staff were preparing to close the restaurant for the night.
Leon then reported her discovery to the manager and they called 911. Customers had already left the restaurant when she discovered the body.

Agents Billy Miller and Dan Friel of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation were notified and joined the Smithville Police Department in the investigation later that night, and after interviewing employees, decided they needed to talk to Sosa.

After discovering where she lived, Sheriff Patrick Ray went to the address on Talley Road and picked her up around 4:00 a.m. Saturday. She was brought to the Smithville Police Department, where she was interviewed by the TBI agents.

During the questioning of Sosa through an interpreter, agents determined she was a likely suspect in the case and took her to DeKalb Community Hospital for an examination. The emergency room doctor found that she had recently given birth and suggested that she undergo emergency surgery, because she had suffered some potentially life threatening complications during the delivery.

Sosa was then transported to the Cookeville Hospital early Saturday morning, October 27th. She came through the surgery fine and was released on Monday, October 29th after which she was taken into custody.

The infant, a male, fully developed child, weighed 5 pounds, 14 ounces, and was 19 inches long. Chief Jennings says it appears the mother carried the child about eight months.

EMS personnel initially thought the baby was alive but Bill Locke, Assistant District Attorney General, says the autopsy concluded that the child was dead at the time of birth.

Meanwhile, in other cases, 44 year old Denise Juareqi pleaded guilty to criminal impersonation and will be on supervised probation for six months. She must perform 25 hours of community service work. She was given credit for time served since December 28th, 2007.

36 year old Tina Young pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and received a three year sentence, to serve 30 days and then be on Department of Corrections Probation. She must perform 100 hours of community service work.

24 year old Johnny Devault pleaded guilty by information to reckless driving and simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on the drug charge, suspended to time served and six months probation. He must pay a fine of $250. He was given jail credit from December 12th, 2007 to March 4th, 2008. Devault received a six months suspended sentence on the reckless driving charge.

25 year old Elizabeth Chalfant pleaded guilty to theft and received a two year sentence, all suspended. She must make restitution to the victim in the amount of $1,956 and perform 100 hours of community service work. She was given jail credit from July 19th to August 24th, 2007 and from January 2nd to March 4th, 2008. She also pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance and received a three year sentence, all suspended to six months to serve. She was fined $2,000 and must make restitution of $50 to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. As part of her sentence, Chalfant will be on probation and or must successfully complete in-house treatment at a facility. Chalfant pleaded guilty to driving on a suspended license and received six months to serve. She also pleaded guilty to casual exchange and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to six months to serve. Chalfant's sentences will run concurrently, except for the theft case, which will run consecutively with the others.

34 year old Larry L. George pleaded guilty to escape, aggravated burglary, theft over $1,000, evading, and driving on a suspended license. All the cases run concurrently except the escape conviction, which runs consecutively with the others. George received a total sentence of six years to serve one year and then be on probation for five years. He will be on supervised probation by the Department of Corrections, must make restitution to the victim, perform 100 hours of community service work, and pay a $50 fine. He was given jail credit of 131 days.

37 year old Amiee D. Jobe pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and received a 30 day suspended sentence and four months of good behavior probation.

41 year old Lisa Kylene Frazier pleaded guilty to forgery and aggravated burglary. She received a two year sentence on the forgery charge and four years on the burglary offense. The cases are to run concurrently with each other and with cases against her in Macon and Sumner Counties. She must make restitution of $550 to the victims here. Frazier was given jail credit of 231 days.

52 year old Larry Lepley pleaded guilty to attempting to violate the sex offender registry. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to probation. He must perform 50 hours of community service work which can be waived if he is unable to complete it due to a disability.

35 year old Bill Bailey Swaner III pleaded guilty to theft and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days to serve 30 days. The case is to run consecutive to a Warren County case against him. Swaner must perform 25 hours of community service work on PSI probation. He is also restrained from going into the Walmart store. Swaner was given jail credit for January 20th through March 4th.

21 year old Kara L. Funk, charged with possession of a schedule II, III, and VI controlled substance for sale and possession of drug paraphernalia, was granted judicial diversion for three years. She will be on supervised Department of Corrections Probation and must perform 100 hours of community service work, and undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow the prescribed treatments.

33 year old Charlotte Marie Hill pleaded guilty to theft under $500 and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days. She will be on PSI supervised probation and must perform 25 hours of community service work. She must also stay away from Walmart. Hill was given jail credit of 16 days.

City Attorney Advises Against Making Significant Changes In Golf Course Lease

March 3, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen Monday night left unresolved two issues they will soon have to face, setting a pay scale for the police investigator position, and the status of the golf course lease with tenant Jimmy Lewis.

On the golf course issue, Lewis has a lease with the city to operate the golf course and swimming pool through 2017 at $2500 per month. Faced with the possibility that Lewis might want to give up the lease, Mayor Taft Hendrixson, at a workshop last week, proposed that Lewis' lease be amended.

Under Mayor Hendrixson's proposal, Lewis would continue operating the golf course through the year 2017, but he would be relieved of his responsibility for operating the swimming pool. Hendrixson proposed cutting Lewis' rent in half from $2,500 per month to $1,250 per month, but Lewis would be responsible for all upkeep and maintenance of the golf course. Mayor Hendrixson further proposed that the swimming pool operation and maintenance be funded from the city's recreation budget.

However City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr., on Monday night, said these proposed changes are so significant that the lease, in his opinion, cannot be amended. "I've looked over the lease agreement that you have with Jimmy Lewis that was entered into on March 22nd, 2006. Although it does have a provision for modifications, I don't think it's contemplated that we would make a major deviation from the current contract. Currently, Mr. Lewis is supposed to be paying $2,500 per month and there was discussion about reducing that in half and then also the (city) taking over the swimming pool which Mr. Lewis currently has to manage. My feeling is that because this is such a major deviation from the contract, the city would probably have to re-let that contract if they were going to do that and if Mr. Lewis opts to say he is going to terminate his agreement with the city then I think the city has no option other than re-letting and let others vie for that contract. You're talking about a significant deviation from the contract. This contract goes through 2017 and there is no provision to have that big a deviation so I feel like that it would be ill advised for the city to deviate and make those major changes since other people may want to vie for that contract."

Alderman Tonya Sullivan asked Parsley about the section in the lease referring to "‘modifications" and what that might cover. Parsley said it was his opinion that minor changes could be made subject to a written agreement signed by the parties but nothing major. " Here we're not only talking about losing income, we're also talking about taking on a new liability of managing the swimming pool which entails hiring personnel and paying all their salaries, workers comp, and whatever is necessary."

Parsley further advised the aldermen to be careful about modifying it's contracts. "For example, we had a hay contract (awarded) last time (last meeting). Somebody might come back next time and say ‘I don't like my agreement and I want to cut it in half'. Are we going to start modifying all our contracts for people who are really not having good luck with their contracts. I don't think the city wants to get in that posture."

Mayor Hendrixson said "I was proposing something to try to keep the golf course viable. Jimmy has done a good job with the golf course and maybe the city could take over (pool operation) and have some recreation, a cheaper rate or something at the swimming pool for the children. But I certainly don't want to go against our legal advice and I'm not going to."

Alderman Sullivan made a motion that the mayor and aldermen have another workshop with Lewis to discuss the issue further. The motion carried 5 to 0. The workshop will be held following the 6:00 p.m. planning commission meeting Thursday night at city hall.

Also during that workshop Thursday night, the mayor and aldermen will try to agree on a pay scale for the police investigator position.

When the aldermen hired Jerry Hutchins', Jr as police investigator in January, they did not specifically address his rate of pay, apparently unaware that the city budget currently does not provide a pay scale for the position of "investigator".

Two weeks ago, the board voted 5 to 0 to start Hutchins at a sergeant's rate of pay, $11.89 per hour and increase it to $13.13 per hour after sixty days. Once the pay scale is set, Hutchins may earn more than sergeants pay.

On Monday night, City Attorney Parsley said he had done some research on what the city has paid other officers in the past who have performed similar duties based on their experience. "The last investigator we had was officer Bill Elliott. It's my understanding, he started as a patrolman in probably March, 2006. At some point along the way, about May 14th, 2007, he was appointed to investigator and received a pay rate at that time of $12.28 per hour. Thereafter, he received, by virtue of the budget, an increase in pay to $12.62. He received a pay raise on July 17th, just seven days later, to $13.76."

"The next investigator after him (Elliott) was officer Steve Deffendoll who began his work here as a patrolman. He started out as a patrolman at $11.13, then he went to $12.30 at sergeant's pay in June, 2006. In July, 2006, he went to $13.39 by virtue of the raise they got through the budget process. The following year, on April 20th, he went to $15.20 at Lieutenant's pay, then on July 10th, he received another raise up to $15.95 and that was the pay rate he had according to the records here when he left the service of the city."

"Prior to that, You had officer Chris Russell, who also started as patrolman. I don't know exactly when he was appointed as investigator, but when he left his service here in July, 2006 he was making $14.60. I don't know if that was comparable to sergeant's pay, or whatever. There was no notation."

"Prior to him was Don Wilson. He started out in November, 2000 at $8.81 and after he completed his probationary period, he was making $9.85 in March, 2001 and he left employment with the city sometime thereafter."

"Charles Dennis is the last one I could find and he was making $9.85 by the time he left."

Alderman Sullivan made a motion that the workshop be held to resolve the pay dispute. The motion was approved on a 5-0 vote. Again, the workshop will be held following the 6:00 p.m. planning commission meeting Thursday night at city hall.

Three Charged In Recent Copper Theft Investigations

March 3, 2008
Dwayne Page

Recent copper theft investigations by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department have resulted in three arrests.

23 year old Edward Lee Judkins Jr. and 26 year old Marie Biddle, both of Fisher Avenue, Smithville, were charged on February 26th with theft of property over $1,000.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says both Judkins and Biddle were charged as the result of an investigation into the theft of copper guttering down spouts from a residence in the Hillcrest area in DeKalb County. Judkins, employed by a tree service business, was doing some work at a residence and spotted the copper at the victim's home next door. He allegedly stole the down spouts and sold them. Detectives were able to locate the copper which was sold to Ivy Bluff Scrap Metal in Morrison. Bond for both Judkins and Biddle was set at $10,000 and their court date is March 13th.

Meanwhile, Judkins and 27 year old Rickey Lynn Martin of Judkins Lane Smithville were charged on February 27th with theft of property under $500. Sheriff Ray says Judkins and Martin were visiting friends on Colvert Lake Road in Smithville when they took 100 feet of copper wire from the residence. The copper wire was also sold to Ivy Bluff Scrap Metal in Morrison. Bond for both Judkins and Martin was set at $2,500 and their court date is March 13th.

21 year old Zack Ross Hendrixson of West Main Street, Hickman was charged on February 26th with leaving the scene of an accident and driving on a suspended driver's license. Sheriff Ray says Hendrixson was the driver of a 1999 GMC pickup truck which left the roadway on Highway 56 north near the Briarwood subdivision. According to Sheriff Ray, Hendrixson did leave the scene and was arrested later. He also admitted to being the driver of the vehicle. Bond was set at $4,000 and his court date is March 12th.

51 year old Steve Franklin Mabe Sr. of Hall Road Alexandria was arrested on February 27th on two counts of possession of a schedule drug for resale, simple possession, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Sheriff Ray says Mabe was stopped on Nashville Highway around the Snow Hill area for a traffic violation. Upon consent to search, Detectives found an unmarked pill bottle containing six 10 milligram Hydrocodone pills, ten 10 milligram valiums, marijuana, and rolling papers in Mabe's shirt pocket. Detectives also seized a 1988 Ford Escort and $1,252 in cash from Mabe. His bond was set at $90,000 and his court date is March 13th.

47 year old Donna Harry and 56 year old Charles Harry of Miller Road, Christiana, Tennessee were arrested on February 29th after detectives stopped them for erratic driving on Nashville Highway in Liberty. Sheriff Ray says Donna Harry was charged with a second offense of driving under the influence after detectives administered field sobriety tasks on her which she failed. Harry and her husband ,Charles, were also arrested for possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana) for resale after detectives found over an ounce of marijuana in their vehicle. The Harry's 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo was also seized. Bond for Donna Harry was set at $13,000 and Charles Harry's bond was set at $10,000. The court date for both was set for March 20th.

20 year old Gustavo Torres of Blue Springs Road, Smithville was charged on March 2nd with DUI 2nd offense after county deputies found him passed out and behind the wheel of his vehicle on Ferrell Road. Sheriff Ray says Torres had run his vehicle off in the ditch. Bond was set at $3,000 and his court date is March 20th.

Also on March 2nd, Deputies responded to a call on Cookeville Highway of a man standing in the middle of the road. When Deputies arrived, they found 37 year old Bobby Marsh of Dedham Street, Rockville Tennessee standing in the roadway. Deputies noticed a strong smell of alcohol on Marsh's person and he was unsteady on his feet. Marsh was charged with public intoxication and bond was set at $1,000. He will appear in court on March 20th.

Senator Beavers says Commerce Committee Debates Legislation to cut Down Auto Theft

March 3, 2008

The Senate Commerce Committee debated legislation last week aimed at reducing auto theft in Tennessee. The bill would require scrap metal processors who purchase vehicles with the intention of dismantling or salvaging them to provide proof of ownership.

“This bill will make it much harder for thieves to fence stolen cars” said Sen. Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), a member of the committee. “It simply requires those who scrap cars to get identification and a title from the seller, and to keep a record of the transaction for later review.”

Under the bill as amended by the Committee, any scrap metal dealer purchasing a motor vehicle less than five years old must be given a title by the seller. Any vehicle bought over five years old which does not contain the motor or is inoperable, would not require a title but must have a written statement signed by the seller or their agent stating they have a lawful right to sell and dispose of the vehicle. The title must be accompanied by a photo copy of the seller’s driver’s license. It also requires records on those transactions be kept for five years, including the name and address of the buyer and the amount they paid for the vehicle, date of sale, description of the auto, VIN number, and the license plate number of any vehicle transporting the automobile.

If the seller does not have the identification prescribed in the bill, the sale could not be completed. Those found guilty of violation of the proposed law would be subject to a class A misdemeanor. Any vehicle used to transport a vehicle sold in violation of the act could also be subject to confiscation under the legislation.

“Hopefully, this legislation will serve as a deterrent when thieves realize that they cannot steal and strip a car, and then sell the body to be crushed before law enforcement can trace their steps,” Beavers concluded.

Debate on the bill will continue in the committee next week.

SJR 127 giving citizens a say in protections for abortions rejected in House Subcommittee

The House Public Health Subcommittee rejected legislation overwhelmingly approved by the State Senate earlier this year that would have given Tennesseans the opportunity to restore their voice in determining what state law should be regarding commonsense protections for abortions. The resolution failed by a vote of 6 to 3, despite strong support among members of both the House and Senate.

The measure has repeatedly failed in the House Subcommittee where rules allow for legislation to be killed there by a handful of legislators. Senate rules provide that subcommittees may only make recommendations to the full committee regarding passage of a bill, but legislation cannot be rejected there.

“I am very disappointed that this resolution was rejected in the House,” said Beavers, who serves as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Every bill deserves a fair hearing in committee, especially when it is such an important issue and you have the support needed for passage by the full body.”

The resolution addresses a State Supreme Court decision in 2000 that struck down provisions in Tennessee law allowing women to receive “informed consent” information about the surgery and to wait 48 hours before they receive an abortion. The court also ruled against a state requirement that all abortions after the first trimester be performed in a hospital. That ruling made Tennessee more liberal than the courts required in “Roe v. Wade” and made the right to abortion a “fundamental right” in Tennessee.

Rejection by the House Subcommittee means the next opportunity for the measure to be placed on the ballot would be the year 2014.

Senate votes to change spring sales tax holiday to April 25 - 27

The full Senate gave final approval to legislation this week to move the state’s spring sales tax holiday to the last weekend in April so that it will not interfere with businesses that close for Easter. The holiday, which was designed to provide relief to taxpayers by instituting a temporary sales tax exemption on certain items, was scheduled by law for the weekend of March 21 – 23. Those dates coincide with both Good Friday and Easter this year.

Senate Republicans were instrumental in the passage of several tax reform initiatives during the past legislative session. This includes the August and spring sales tax holidays, a half cent reduction on the sales tax on food, and implementation of property tax relief for senior citizens and disabled veterans.

“I am pleased the Senate has approved this legislation,” said Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), a key supporter of the sales tax holiday. “This will give more citizens an opportunity to take advantage of the sales tax holiday in Tennessee since many businesses in our district close for Easter.”

Issues in Brief

Hargett confirmed as TRA Director – The full Senate voted 30 to 0 this week to confirm Former House Republican Leader Tre Hargett as Director of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority. Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) nominated Hargett to serve on the body, which sets the rates and service standards of privately owned telephone, natural gas, electric, and water utilities. The Senate also confirmed Eddie Roberson, Mary Freeman and Sara Kyle.

DUI / BAC Test -- State Senators have approved legislation that would eliminate the two-hour period in which a blood alcohol test must be administered to be used as evidence in court. The bill, sponsored by Senator Diane Black (R-Gallatin), would change current law which mandates that the blood alcohol content (BAC) test must be administered to a person within two hours following their arrest or initial detention. Some remote areas of the state have difficulty in securing the medical professionals needed to draw the blood for the test. This bill removes that requirement and leaves such decisions about admissibility after a longer period of time in the hands of the court.

Illegal Immigration / Terrorism -- The full Senate has approved two bills that would make it a Class B misdemeanor offense to create or use fake identification for the purpose of obtaining or maintaining employment. The legislation would make the production or use of each false identification document a separate offense under Tennessee law if it is determined that any person in connection with the violation is not legally present in the United States. It also requires the court to notify the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “We must begin a comprehensive approach to attack illegal immigration in Tennessee,” said Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet). “This bill addresses a growing problem we have seen in our state with the production of fake identification for illegal aliens in the workplace.”

Hunting and fishing rights -- The State Senate heard on final reading a resolution on Thursday to amend the Tennessee Constitution by protecting the right to hunt and fish. The measure would be voted on in the same manner as the "Victim's Rights Amendment" in 1998, the “State Lottery Scholarship Amendment” of 2002, or the recent amendment to give property tax relief to the elderly. If approved by the legislature this year and by a two-thirds majority in the next General Assembly in 2009, citizens could expect to see the resolution on the ballot in November.

Toll roads / American-owned -- If Tennessee approves the use of toll roads in the state, they would have to be “American-owned” under legislation sponsored by Senator Tim Burchett (R-Knoxville) and approved by the full Senate. The measure would emulate Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules that require radio stations to be American-owned to prevent foreign interference in cases of national emergency. The bill requires that any contract, understanding, or agreement entered into for the operation of a tollway or toll facility be made with a U.S. citizen or with a business entity in which more than 50 percent of the equity is owned by U.S. citizens. All members of the State Senate were added as sponsors of the bill.

Animal Abuse Registry -- An Animal Abuse Registry would be set up under legislation approved by the full Senate this week. The bill creates an Internet registry, like the Sexual Offender Registry, that would identify people convicted in Tennessee of aggravated cruelty to animals. Under the bill, the county court clerks would send information to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation who would post it on the website.

Underage drinking – Two bills passed this week dealing with the issue of underage drinking. The first bill, sponsored by Senator Tim Burchett, and approved by the full Senate, would require birth dates to be printed in red and in larger print to make them more visible to clerks or servers who must check the information before selling or serving alcoholic beverages. The second bill, which was approved by the Senate State and Local Government Committee, would extend indefinitely the state’s beer carding requirement. That law requires clerks to look at picture identification for those buying beer in stores.

Election of Lt. Gov. and Secretary of State -- The full Senate heard on first reading Thursday a resolution to elect Tennessee’s lieutenant governor and secretary of state. The lieutenant governor is currently elected by the State Senate every two years, while the secretary of state is elected by House and Senate members in a joint session every four years. The proposal to change the state constitution would have to pass both chambers this year, and then again by a two-thirds vote in the next General Assembly before it could be voted on by Tennesseans in the 2010 election.

TBI – Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Mark Gwyn, who appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, told lawmakers he expects the next drug epidemic in the state will be illegal use of pharmaceutical drugs. Gwyn said TBI agents are already seeing a proliferation of teen parties where pharmaceutical drugs are a pre-condition for entry into the event. Gwyn said the other growing crime in Tennessee is “cyber crime.”

Mayor Makes New Proposal for City Swimming Pool & Golf Course

February 27, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Aldermen Monday night may consider a proposal for the city to take over operation of the municipal swimming pool and cut the rent of the golf course tenant in half.

This proposal is being offered by Mayor Taft Hendrixson, who presented it during a brief informal workshop session with members of the council Wednesday afternoon at city hall. Aldermen Cecil Burger and Tonya Sullivan were in attendance along with City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. and Jimmy Lewis, golf course tenant.

Lewis has the golf course and swimming pool leased until 2017 at $2,500 per month, with a five year renewal option.

Sources say Lewis has been considering giving up the lease under certain conditions. Lewis has apparently not publicly confirmed that but if he did surrender it, the city would possibly have to re-bid the lease or take over operation of both the golf course and swimming pool and hire an operator to manage them.

Mayor Hendrixson says he doesn't believe the city should get in the golf course business, but the city could assume operation and maintenance of the swimming pool as a service to the people of the city, especially the youth, and possibly reduce the admission price to swim to around a dollar per person.

Under Mayor Hendrixson's proposal, Lewis' lease would be amended allowing him to continue operating the golf course through the year 2017, but Lewis would be relieved of his responsibility for operating the swimming pool. Hendrixson proposes to cut Lewis' rent in half from $2,500 per month to $1,250 per month, but Lewis would be responsible for all upkeep and maintenance of the golf course. Mayor Hendrixson was complimentary of Lewis, saying he has taken good care of the golf course.

Hendrixson proposes that the swimming pool operation and maintenance be funded in the city's recreation budget. Costs incurred to the city would include hiring someone to manage the pool, chemicals, utilities, etc.

Mayor Hendrixson says the city could possibly hire someone for the summer, maybe a college student for example, to manage the pool, keep chemicals up to date, be responsible for making sure life guards are on duty, and whatever else is needed.

The proposal is expected to be discussed during the city council meeting Monday night. WJLE plans LIVE coverage and LIVE audio streaming at www.wjle.com.

Missing Teen Turns Herself In At DeKalb County Jail

February 27, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 17 year old DeKalb County girl, who left home last Monday night, February 25th turned herself in at the DeKalb County Jail Tuesday night with her boyfriend.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Heather Ann Cantrell and her boyfriend have been charged in juvenile petitions with being runaways. They have been taken to the Juvenile Detention Center in Cookeville.

Sheriff Ray says the two have apparently been staying with friends for the past few days in Athens, Tennessee.

A Flurry of Recent Criminal Activity Has Kept Smithville Police Busy

February 27, 2008
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings is urging you not to leave purses and other valuables unattended in your automobile or shopping cart when you go to the store or other places.

Thefts of these kind have been a problem lately.

Chief Jennings says in one recent case, a woman attending a ball game at DeKalb Middle School left a pocketbook in her car in the school parking lot and when she came back, the pocketbook was gone. Someone had gotten in the car and taken the purse which contained money, medication, and some important papers. The woman, after making the discovery of the theft, went to the police department to report the crime to Chief Jennings.

No arrests have been made

Meanwhile, in another case, Chief Jennings says someone recently stole some checks from a resident at 701 Fisher Avenue and later forged and cashed three of them at a local bank in the amounts of $120.31, $12.05, and $186.56. Chief Jennings says the theft apparently occurred while the victim was in the hospital.

Officer Travis Bryant took the report on the crime.

In another case, a resident at 915 Short Mountain Street recently reported the theft of a large cast iron antique 25 gallon pot from her front yard. The woman valued the pot at $1,200. The report was taken by part time officer and constable Mark Milam.

41 year old Lisa Pyles of Jones Mill Road, Smithville was recently arrested in a shoplifting case and charged with theft of property under $500. During a search subsequent to arrest, some drug paraphernalia was found on Pyles so she was additionally charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to a report filed by Officer Randy King, he was called to Mapco Express late Saturday night on suspicion of a shoplifter. The clerk alerted King that Pyles had placed some items in her jacket she hadn't paid for and left the store. Officer King followed her into the parking lot, where she had gotten in her truck. He saw that she was trying to remove items from her coat. Officer King asked her to step out of the truck. As she got out, Pyles continued to remove items from her pocket to hide their discovery. In the floor of the truck, Officer King noticed several items Pyles had placed there including a package of Doritos, beef jerky, spinach dip, four packs of meats and cheese snacks, several small bags of chips and a pack of gum. All items were recovered.

Pyles will be in court on the charges March 20th.

31 year old Refugio Gonzales Rodriguez was charged with a first offense of driving under the influence on Sunday morning after an investigation by Officer Brad Tatrow.

Chief Jennings says on Sunday at 4:18 a.m. Officer Tatrow noticed a gray Ford Explorer in the parking lot of an apartment complex at 322 West Broad Street. Officer Tatrow stopped, got out of his patrol car, and approached the vehicle. He noticed an Hispanic male sitting in the drivers seat of the truck. The vehicle was running and the lights were on. The man was behind the wheel, passed out, but still holding a beer in his hand. Officer Tatrow banged on the window to get his attention. The man slowly woke up, looked at the officer, and took two more swallows of beer. Officer Tatrow asked the man to get out of the truck. He complied but was sluggish and stumbled The man was asked to submit to a series of field sobriety tasks which he failed. Rodriguez was taken to the Smithville Police Department where he submitted to a toximeter test and blew a .14.

His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court on the charge March 13th.

37 year old Clinton Jerome Maples of South Mountain Road, Smithville was charged Friday night with public intoxication.

Chief Jennings says on Friday night, Sergeant Joey D. Jones was flagged down by a man at Royal Oak apartments. The man told the officer that someone was sitting in the breeze way of an apartment building, who had earlier been going around knocking on doors looking for someone, but the person he was trying to find didn't live there. Sergeant Jones made contact with the man who identified himself as Maples. He had a strong smell of alcohol on his breath and person and was unsteady on his feet. Sergeant Jones had to help him stand up. Maples was charged with public intoxication. His bond is set at $1,000 and he will be in court Thursday.

Stephen Hunter Pugh was picked up at the Central Dispatch location on South Mountain Street Sunday night on a violation of probation warrant.

Chief Jennings says Officer Randy King was summoned to the Central Dispatch location to check out a suspicious person. Officers King and Tatrow arrived to find Pugh attempting to sell a red step ladder to the dispatcher. He seemed to be confused and disoriented. Officer King asked him what he was doing trying to sell a ladder to the dispatcher. Pugh shrugged his shoulders and didn't answer. When officers learned, through a warrants check, that Pugh was wanted for violation of probation, he was taken to the Sheriff's Department and his vehicle was towed. The ladder he was trying to sell belonged to his grandfather.

Smithville Police are investigating a domestic assault case, which was reported just before midnight Sunday night.

Chief Jennings says Officer Randy King was dispatched to the emergency room of DeKalb Community Hospital where the victim was being treated.

The victim told the officer that when she went to her former residence to get some items she had left, an argument ensued between her and the former boyfriend, and that she was assaulted.

No arrests have been made.

29 year old Heather D. Colwell of 622 Restview Avenue was charged Monday with Public Intoxication.

Chief Jennings says on Monday he answered a call to come to the parking lot of Value Rent on Broad Street to investigate a possible intoxicated person. "I arrived and saw a car fitting the description in the parking lot. Two persons were in the vehicle, which backed out of the parking space in front of the game room, and pulled over in front of the Value Rent. I noticed the driver side door come open, and the driver leaned her head out and started to throw up in the parking lot. I approached the vehicle and found the driver to be Colwell. Lieutenant Steven Leffew arrived to assist and Colwell was placed under arrest for Public Intoxication. The passenger of the vehicle, James A. Barrett, Jr. had an outstanding warrant against him from the Sheriff's Department. Colwell was transported to the Police Department and Barrett was taken to the county jail. Her bond is $1,000 and she will be in court March 13th.

On Tuesday morning, 24 year old David Michael Teachout was charged with assault.

Chief Jennings says Sergeant Joey Jones was called to 558 East Main Street on a complaint of an assault. Upon arrival, a lady in the front yard motioned for the officersto stop. He exited his patrol car and walked toward her. She stated that there was a fight inside the house between her brother (Teachout) and her ex-husband and that her mother and ex-husband were holding Teachout down on the bed. Sergeant Jones went in the house and secured Teachout, who had been drinking. The officer spoke with all parties involved. The sister who called was Jerri Spivey. She stated that her ex-husband had been there all day helping with the kids. When Teachout called and asked if he was there, she advised that he was there. Teachout said that he had better be gone when he got there. Upon his arrival, Clinton Spivey and Jerri Spivey were in her bedroom watching TV, when Teachout entered the bedroom and started hitting Clinton Spivey. The mother, Brenda Teachout and the ex-husband were able to hold Teachout on the bed until the officer arrived.

Teachout told the officer he had drank six beers. He will be in court on the assault charge on March 13th. His bond is $2,500.

Weather Related Cancellations

Dwayne Page

Weather related closings and cancellations for Wednesday include:

Church Services at:
Keltonburg United Methodist Church
Webb's Chapel United Methodist Church
Whorton Springs Baptist Church Awana Program

DeKalb County Schools are closed Wednesday, but no word yet on Thursday.

Weather Related Cancellations

Dwayne Page

Weather related closings and cancellations for Wednesday include:

Church Services at:
Keltonburg United Methodist Church
Webb's Chapel United Methodist Church
Whorton Springs Baptist Church Awana Program

DeKalb County Schools are closed Wednesday, but no word yet on Thursday.

Alexandria Police Arrest Two Men in Burglary Investigation

February 27, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Alexandria Police Department has made two arrests in a burglary last week at the old Prichard's Grocery store location.

Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins says 42 year old Wendell Lee Gibbs and 32 year old James Steven Leduc both of Alexandria are charged with one count of burglary and one count of theft over $10,000. Bond for each is $30,000.

On Thursday, February 21st , Chief Collins and Sergeant Chris Russell of the Alexandria Police Department responded to a reported burglary at the old Prichard's Grocery Store located at 33812 Nashville Highway where someone entered the building and stole a substantial amount of copper wiring and piping and causing extensive damage to the electrical system of the building and to the coolers and freezers .

The investigation led to the arrests of both Gibbs and Leduc.

Chief Collins says the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department assisted Alexandria Police in the investigation and Leduc was also charged by the Sheriff's Department on unrelated charges.

The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected.


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