Local News Articles

Grand Jury Indicts Twenty Four

December 7, 2006
Dwayne Page

A total of twenty four people were indicted by the December term of the DeKalb County Grand Jury Monday and Tuesday including one in a sealed indictment.

All those indicted will appear for arraignment in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, December 18th

19 year old Joshua James Kneer of 313 Park Street, Syracuse New York was arrested Wednesday on a sealed indictment charging him with vehicular homicide by intoxication, vehicular homicide (recklessness), driving under the influence, and driving on a suspended license. His bond is set at $100,000.

Kneer was also indicted on a separate charge of driving while suspended

Others indicted and their charges are as follows:

Ricky Allen Ashford, Sr.- aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000

Matthew M. Lawson- forgery (4 counts) and passing a forged instrument (4 counts)

William David Arendall and Sherry Cook- aggravated burglary (9 counts) and theft over $1,000

Larry J. Keaton- driving while revoked (3rd offense)

Andrew L. Hutchens and Justin M. Cripps- aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000

Sherry Diane Cook- driving while revoked (7th offense) and possession of paraphernalia

Paul J. Comer- evading arrest with a motor vehicle, driving under the influence, and violation of the implied consent law

David Michael Kemper- driving under the influence (2nd offense), driving on a revoked license (2nd offense), violation of the implied consent law, and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage.

Kevin D. Eldridge- driving while suspended (7th offense)

Brian D. Thomason- aggravated burglary, burglary of an auto (4 counts), and vandalism under $500

Barbara Self- assault

Lavar Kinte Bass- assault

Hope Tarpley- theft over $1,000

Clarence Bradley Trapp- domestic assault

Kevin D. Eldridge- driving while suspended (7th offense) and violation of the financial responsibility law

Rhonda F. Brewer- driving while suspended and criminal impersonation

William R. Cantrell-evading arrest and possession of paraphernalia

Victor Perez Garcia- speeding, no drivers license, and violation of the financial responsibility law.

Jose L. Padilla Vazquez- driving under the influence and DUI per se

Julio C. Rico- driving under the influence (2nd offense), DUI per se, and illegal consumption

Raymond Dean Martin-simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance

Richard B. Turner- theft under $500

Dale Andrew Buck- driving under the influence, simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance, violation of the implied consent law, and violation of the financial responsibility law.

Man Dies From Injuries In Thursday Afternoon Wreck

December 8, 2006
Dwayne Page

An 18 year old DeKalb County man died Thursday night at Vanderbilt Hospital from injuries he received in a one vehicle traffic accident Thursday afternoon on Bright Hill Road.

Dead is Matthew Bates of Page Drive, Smithville.

Sergeant Billy Prater of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Bates was a passenger of a 1988 GMC Jimmy, driven by 18 year old Joshua Puckett of Four Seasons Road, Smithville. The accident occurred around 12:50 p.m. Thursday about four-tenths of a mile north of Hooper Road on Bright Hill Road.

Sergeant Prater says Puckett was driving toward town and was negotiating a curve when the vehicle ran off the right side of the roadway, began to rotate, traveled up a grass embankment, and then overturned. The vehicle came to rest in the west ditchline of Bright Hill Road facing south. Both Puckett and Bates were ejected. Neither was wearing a seatbelt.

Puckett and Bates were taken by DeKalb EMS from the scene to meet a Vandy Life Flight helicopter ambulance and were flown to Vanderbilt Hospital.

Sergeant Prater was assisted at the scene by Trooper Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, EMS, and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Fighters.

Man Indicted For Vehicular Homicide In April Car Crash

December 9, 2006
Dwayne Page

A 19 year old man was indicted by the DeKalb Couny Grand Jury this week for vehicular homicide as the result of an April traffic accident in Smithville, in which 69 year old Ofallon Byford later died.

Joshua James Kneer of 313 Park Street, Syracuse New York was arrested Wednesday on a sealed indictment charging him with vehicular homicide by intoxication, vehicular homicide (recklessness), driving under the influence, and driving on a suspended license. His bond is set at $100,000.

Kneer was also indicted on a separate charge of driving while suspended.

Smithville Police said at the time of the accident that Byford was driving east on Broad Street in a 1993 Ford Tauras when a 1988 Pontiac, driven by Kneer of West Main Street, attempting to cross Broad Street from Carter Street, pulled into her path.

Kneer was not seriously injured but he was charged with failure to yield, violation of the financial responsibility law, violation of the seat belt law, and driving on a suspended license.

Byford was transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Hospital and then to the parking lot of the high school where she was airlifted by helicopter ambulance to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. She died in June.

Alexandria Celebrates Christmas with Parade

December 9, 2006
Dwayne Page

Hundreds turned out on a bright sunny afternoon for the Alexandria Christmas Parade Saturday.

The parade featured seasonal floats, the DCHS band, vintage automobiles, and of course, Santa Claus, among many other entries.

Phil Jones of NewsChannel 5 flew to town in the Sky 5 helicopter and he served as Grand Marshal of the Parade.

The West Main Baptist Church of Alexandria took first place among the parade entries. The Alexandria First Baptist Church received second place and Mason Carter's antique tractor took third place.

Many people also won drawings for cash, country hams, bicycles, and a $100 savings bond after the parade.

Grand Jury Commends Sheriff's Department

December 10, 2006
Dwayne Page

Members of the DeKalb County Grand Jury toured the jail last week and had good things to say in it's report to the court.

The report states that \"The consensus of the Grand Jury was that everything was clean and organized. We were impressed with the open door policy for any citizens to visit the jail and the willingness of the Sheriff to answer any questions.\"

Stephen L. Officer is the Grand Jury foreman.

Deputy Graduates From Law Enforcement Training Academy

December 11, 2006
Dwayne Page

Sheriff Patrick Ray has recognized a member of his department for graduating from the Walters State Community College Law Enforcement Training Academy.

Sheriff Ray recently presented Offier Patrick Britian with an award from the Tennessee Sheriff's Association for Outstanding Achievement for an Employee of a Sheriff's Department.

DeKalb County Officer Completes D.A.R.E. Training

December 11, 2006
Dwayne Page

A new group of police officers and sheriff?s deputies, including one from DeKalb County, graduated Friday from D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) training conducted by the Tennessee Department of Safety.

Tim Hearn of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department was among the graduates.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says he is proud of Officer Hearn's accomplishments. \"Tim is an outstanding officer with good morals and ethics. He works very well with children.\"

Hearn and his wife Shelley have two young children, Jaycee and Jayden.

The culmination exercise was held at the Sheraton Music City Hotel in Nashville.

Tennessee began its 37 th D.A.R.E. Officer Training on November 25 th at the Sheraton Music City Hotel. The training is conducted by the Highway Patrol?s internationally recognized D.A.R.E. unit. The instructors teach a two-week course that certifies law enforcement officers in the Elementary and Middle School D.A.R.E. curricula.

The 22 officers who completed the course represent 20 Tennessee law enforcement agencies, one from Chandler , Arizona and the Caribbean island of St. Maarten , Netherland Antilles. Upon completion of the training, the officers are also trained to assume duties as School Resource Officers (SRO?s) in their communities.

?The D.A.R.E. program is important in the fight against drug use by young people,? said THP Commander Colonel Mike Walker. ?Its success in keeping children and teens away from drugs is recognized across the United States , and around the world.?

D.A.R.E. is in its 24 th year and is taught in all 50 states plus some 54 foreign countries. Since 1990, the THP has conducted dozens of D.A.R.E. Training Seminars in Nashville . The classes have prepared more than a thousand officers to work with young people on drug education. D.A.R.E. focuses on responsibility and resistance to peer pressure. It targets communication and refusal skills, decision-making skills and awareness about drugs and health. D.A.R.E. programs across Tennessee reach approximately 80% of all school systems, and an estimated 50-thousand children each year.

?D.A.R.E.?s success proves that early intervention helps keep kids away from drugs,? said THP Lieutenant Leonard Moudy, Tennessee ?s D.A.R.E. coordinator. He adds ?the curriculum is demanding and comprehensive. Lt. Moudy attended the culmination exercise along with Lt. Col Strawther and Captain Don Nicholson.

Adcock Charged In Friday Night Break-Ins

December 11, 2006
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have charged a 49 year old DeKalb County man believed to be responsible for a couple of break-ins Friday night.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says Calvin Kent Adcock of 4456 Keltonburg Road, Smithville is charged with two counts of aggravated burglary, vandalism, and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia ( a syringe). His bond is set at $161,500.

In a prepared news release, Chief Stufano says \"On Friday night, Smithville Police Officers responded to the area of Dr. Melvin Blevins' Office located at 516 West Main Street to a reported burglar alarm.

Upon arrival, officers found that a rear plate glass window had been broken out. Once inside, the officers found a substantial amount of damage had occurred with gapping holes in the walls and ceiling tiles had been pulled down. It was determined that entry was made into the adjoining business known as Johnny's Drugs.

The burglar had cut numerous holes in the walls trying to gain an access point big enough to fit his body through into the pharmacy. Once inside the drug store, shelves and cases had been ransacked in an attempt to find narcotics.

Upon the discovery of the burglary, officers immediately set up a half mile perimeter around the business looking for anyone that may look suspicious, and found Adcock walking about three blocks away from the break-in. Due to the time of night and the hurried state Adcock was walking, officers stopped him.

Adcock was found with pieces of wall insulation in his hood and drywall dust on his pants and head. He also had a small cut on his hand and dried blood on his jacket. The crime scene investigation determined that blood traces left at the scene were consistent with the cuts the suspect had on his hand when found. Detectives were also able to match a footprint impression left at the scene to the shoes Adcock was wearing.

Once inside the pharmacy, additional evidence was found to support that Adcock was in fact the person who committed the crime. Hidden surveillance cameras positively identified him as the one who entered through the hole in the wall.

Both owners of the businesses responded to start cleaning up the extensive damage caused by the burglary.

Adcock was taken into custody and charged at the DeKalb County Jail.

On Monday, officials of the State Department of Probation and Parole contacted the Smithville Police Department advising that Adcock, who was already on probation for similar crimes, had a current warrant for violation of probation and that they would be serving that warrant at the jail.\"

Chief Stufano says \"In recent weeks, the Smithville Police Department has been able to solve a number of high profile cases through the participation and interaction of residents and the cooperation and partnership with other law enforcement agencies. This team concept has allowed the constant flow of critical information needed to solve cases.

The Smithville Police Department wishes to express it's appreciation to all who have helped in these efforts and will continue it's aggressive stance on crime in our city. This support from the community, city leadership, and media is affording the citizens of Smithville the very best in both safety and prevention.\"

Smithville Man Charged With Incest and Rape of a Child

December 11, 2006
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have charged a 32 year old man with the rape of a 12 year old child.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says Steven Baker of 439 Lafever Street, Smithville is charged with statutory rape by an authority figure, rape of a child, and incest.

The arrest was made Friday after an investigation by officers and detectives assigned to the Smithville Police Sexual Assault Unit.

Stufano says \" Officers working with the Department of Children Services had been investigating a third party report suggesting that Baker had possibly been sexually active with a 12 year old family member.\"

\"Upon contacting Baker, the investigators were able to determine that he had a lengthy liaison over the last three years with the minor and other female juveniles living around his residence\".

Chief Stufano says \"Baker would lure the children into watching pornographic films and then enter into childish touching games that eventually led to more aggressive sexual contact.\"

\"During the course of this investigation, Baker admitted to his past sexual contacts with children.\"

The investigation is continuing. Baker was booked into the DeKalb County Jail under a $250,000 bond.

Stufano says the Smithville Police Department has established a specialized Sexual Assault Unit that actively investigates these types of crimes. \"These highly trained investigators work closely with schools, churches, civic organizations, and State Child Protective Services to protect the rights of these victims and also protect the victims and witnesses confidentiality. Our residents are encouraged to contact the Police Department if they suspect that this type of activity may be occurring.\"

Smithville Police Charge Murfreesboro Couple With Passing Counterfeit Checks

December 12, 2006
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have again made significant progress investigating Identify Theft here within the City.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says detectives assigned to revisit older cases that were still open usually referred to as \"cold cases\" were able to follow up on new information and identify and charge two persons.

The original case started on September 6th when Smithville Police received complaints of unknown persons using counterfeit checks within the city limits. Throughout the course of the investigation, it was found that fraudulent checks have been mass produced and used throughout the southeast region of the United States with losses exceeding over $2 million dollars.

Detectives from the Smithville Police Department, United States Secret Service, FBI, and Tennessee Criminal Investigation Division of the Department of Safety were able to successfully track the spending patterns of the suspects leading to the identity and arrest of a husband and wife team living in Murfreesboro.

The suspects had been producing the checks on high tech copy machines and established numerous fraudulent aliases and company accounts. In some cases, the checks were also used as payroll checks which were processed for cash.

Arrested were 25 year old Beatrice Lynn McWhorter and 26 year old James Christopher McWhorter of 811 Twin Oaks Drive, Murfreesboro. The two are currently being held at the White County Jail on numerous charges.

Smithville Police have also charged the pair with two counts of passing counterfeit checks in the City of Smithville. Bond for them is $20,000 each.

Due to the complexity of the case and the vast amount of fraud the investigation is still continuing with additional arrests expected.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated case, Chief Stufano says the Smithville Police Department would like to advise the public that there is an international check scam currently being used in our city and residents should be aware of this illegal activity.

Residents may receive a letter from a company in Canada stating that a city resident is the winner in an international sweepstakes. The letter goes on to read that the company has enclosed a check drawn on a U.S. Bank in an amount varying from $3,000 to $4,000. The enclosed check is to be immediately deposited in the winner's bank account. The winner is to then write a personal check out of their account for the $3,500 to cover taxes on the winnings and forward it back to the sweepstakes company. The letter further states the final payment of the winnings, usually in the amount of $80,000 will be immediately sent to the winner when their funds to cover the taxes have reached the company.

Chief Stufano says high pressure tactics in the letter include time parameters the winner must meet in order to collect the winnings. Another tactic in the letter states \"Special Notice\"- \"This award program has come to the public notice and in order to avoid unauthorized organizations or individuals contacting you, please ensure that this winning is kept confidential\".

Stufano says if you have received one of these letters do not deposit the fraudulent check in your account and be sure to contact police.

Chief Stufano says the Smithville Police Department is strongly committed to actively investigating cases of Identify Theft and Fraud used against our citizens. If you believe you may have been the victim or would like more information on these types of crimes, you are encourgaed to contact the Smithville Police Department.


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