Local News Articles

Bradford Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Burglaries

December 1, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Cory Alan Bradford

A Smithville man arrested in a rash of home burglaries in June and July appeared for sentencing in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday.

29 year old Cory Alan Bradford entered a plea by criminal information to three counts of aggravated burglary and received a five year sentence in each case to run consecutively for a total of fifteen years to serve at least 30% before parole eligibility. However under the plea agreement, Bradford will serve one year and then be furloughed into the Teen Challenge Program. He has been given jail credit of four months. Bradford will be released to probation if he successfully completes the program. He must make restitution to nine victims totaling $17,205.

Bradford was originally charged by the Sheriff’s Department with a total of eleven counts of aggravated burglary, eleven counts of theft, eight counts of vandalism, and one count of possession of burglary tools. The Smithville Police Department had charged Bradford with one count of aggravated burglary.

The crimes occurred between June 2 and July 20

Florence & White Ford Presents Check to DCHS Football Program

December 1, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
DCHS Football Coach Steve Trapp Receives Check from Jimmy White of Florence & White Ford

The DCHS Football Program received a check from Florence & White Ford of Smithville Thursday evening in the amount $2,780

The check was presented to DCHS Football Coach Steve Trapp by Jimmy White of Florence & White Ford. The funds were raised in a Ford Test Drive Event held during “Football Community Night” at the high school in August sponsored by the Quarterback Club. Florence & White Ford brought in new Ford vehicles and donated money to the football program based on the number of test drives taken during the evening. Football fans also enjoyed a barbeque meal.

Coach Trapp said he appreciates the support of Florence & White Ford and the community for the football program at DCHS. “This is something that will really help our program. Florence & White Ford supports DeKalb County athletics and especially football and we appreciate them. It was a good event that came together well with a lot of great people including our quarterback club. I can’t say enough how much we appreciate our county and Florence & White Ford. The money raised will be put to good use as far as supporting our program,” said Coach Trapp.

“We’re just happy to be able to help out and give back to the community,” added Jimmy White of Florence & White Ford.

"Night of Hope" to Bring Awareness to Human Trafficking

December 1, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
"Night of Hope" to Bring Awareness to Human Trafficking

Although DeKalb County is not known as a hotbed for human trafficking one incident is already alleged to have occurred here within the last year.

A Nashville man, 34 year old Charles Earl Denton is currently under indictment for trafficking for a commercial sex act after he arranged to meet a 15 year old Liberty girl in August and then drove to DeKalb County to pick her up. She was taken to Nashville for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex. The girl was later found in a Nashville motel room. Denton was not there but was arrested later.

The Salem Baptist Association and the Alliance for Freedom, Restoration, and Justice are taking the initiative of bringing attention to this serious issue by hosting a program called “Middle TN Night of Hope” in an effort to rally churches and others in the community to help make a difference.

“Night of Hope”will be held on Thursday, December 7 from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at the DeKalb County Complex at 712 South Congress Boulevard.

According to organizers, the Church is uniquely positioned to combat human trafficking and to prevent it from happening in the first place.

“The evil of human trafficking did not appear in our state overnight, and it cannot be eradicated without a strategic plan of action. Whether it is by protecting those in our own communities, affirmatively seeking out the oppressed, or providing restoration for those who have been rescued, the Church can make a significant difference in this fight”.

You are invited to this program to learn more about how Tennessee churches and their members can engage by enhancing their programs, coming alongside existing local anti-trafficking effort, and filling present gaps in our communities.

The program schedule is as follows:

*Music and Worship: Walt Stock

*Welcome: Paul Fries

*Video: Survivor’s Poem “Who’s the Girl” (1:30)

*Prayer for Victims: Mike Carpenter

*Prayer for Traffickers: Dean Anderson

*Introduction: Jimmy Arms

*How the Church is Uniquely Positioned: Ashleigh S. Chapman, JD

*Prayer for Vision: Isaac Gray

*Engage Together Church Testimonial: LaRita Gillespie

*Closing & Call to Action: Jimmy Arms

After the service you are urged to visit the booths of ministries and programs already serving in your local community, and explore ways to engage today on behalf of those in need.

For more information, please contact Tracey Revelle at 877-727-3642, extension 700

Smihville First Baptist Church Welcomes New Pastor

December 1, 2017
by: 
Bill Conger
Chad Ramsey with wife Kathy and children Cameron and Abby

Smihville First Baptist Church has a new pastor in the pulpit. Chad Ramsey begins preaching at Smithville F-B-C this Sunday (December 3) at the 10 o’clock service. The church had been looking for a pastor over a year while Bill Robertson, former pastor at Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church, served in the interim.

“I felt God calling us to come here,” Ramsey said. “My wife, Kathy, and I want to be a part of a multi-generational church that is focused on loving God and loving others.”

Ramsey comes from Central Baptist Church in Alcoa, Tennessee, where he was the pastor for almost the last three years. Ramsey and his wife grew up in Powell, a suburb of Knoxville. He’s a graduate of Carson-Newman College with a double major in Religion and Mathematics. After he received his diploma, the couple were married and moved to Waco, Texas, where Chad attended seminary at George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University. He has worked in a variety of ministerial positions including stints as a Student Minister, Youth Director, Students and Education Pastor, Students and Outreach Pastor, and Associate Pastor. Ramsey then says he felt a distinct call to become a Senior Pastor. Ramsey’s wife is an elementary school teacher, and the couple has two children, --Cameron, 10, and Abby, 6.

“My passion in ministry is to help people grow their own personal faith relationship with God,” explains Ramsey. “I believe that Christianity is not about what you do or what you do not do; rather it is a relationship with God. I have a passion for missions whether that is to the ends of the earth or in our own backyard. My own personal mission statement is to be a disciple who makes disciples.”

“There is so much to learn and experience as we come to Smithville,” Ramsey said. “I believe God has called each one of us to love God with all our heart and to love our neighbors. The first thing I think God has called us to do at FBC is for us to show God all of our love. Kathy and I could feel the love for God and the love for each other the very first time we stepped into FBC. It is a loving church and it is a place for everyone. One of my goals is to make sure the community understands how much God loves them, how much we love them, and how FBC is a place for the whole family.”

“Kathy, the kids, and myself are very excited about what God is doing in our lives and what God is going to do at FBC Smithville. We look forward to meeting everyone and we look forward to introducing you to my Jesus. He will change your life.”

DeKalb Prevention Coalition to Offer Free Training on Use of Naloxone

December 1, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Lisa Cripps
DeKalb Prevention Coalition to Offer Free Training on Use of Naloxone

The DeKalb Prevention Coalition's December 19th meeting will be held in the History Room of the Mike Foster County Complex from 12-1pm.

All attendees will receive FREE training on the use of Naloxone and a kit (if available). This is open to anyone who wants to attend.

Naloxone is a safe nasal spray medication that reverses opioid overdoses caused by narcotics like codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and heroin. This training can save the life of a loved one, friend, co-worker, neighbor or anyone using prescription painkillers or heroin.

If you would be interested in attending this training please leave a message by contacting Lisa Cripps, Prevention Coordinator, at 615-580-9290 (text or voice message) or send a message to the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DeKalbPreventionCoalition to reserve your seat.

Burglar held at Gunpoint by Homeowner Gets Long Prison Term

November 30, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Homer Anthony Petty, Sr.

A man caught during a home burglary and held at gunpoint by the homeowner until deputies arrived more than a year ago was sentenced Monday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

47 year old Homer Anthony Petty, Sr. , who entered a plea in October to charges of aggravated burglary and theft of property over $1,000, was given a 14 year sentence in the Tennessee Department of Corrections to run consecutively with the balance of a three year sentence he is currently serving for a violation of probation in a previous drug sale conviction case. The total effective sentence is 17 years. Petty is classified as a Range 3 offender due to a history of five felony convictions and he will have to serve at least 45% of his term before becoming eligible for parole.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, October 20, 2016 a deputy responded to Old Givens Hollow Road, Liberty due to a burglary.

Upon arrival, the officer learned that the homeowner caught Petty and another person stealing items from his home. “The homeowner witnessed Petty and another person attempting to leave the residence with a Norinco SKS rifle and a head band. The victim (homeowner) recovered the rifle and held Petty at gunpoint until law enforcement officers arrived. The other person with Petty fled the scene. Other items taken in the burglary and theft were an electronic game call, a back pack, multiple turkey calls, and numerous collectible knives. Some of those were recovered.

During Monday’s sentencing hearing, the homeowner testified how that he and his family came home to find these two men in their home. After the intruders saw the family, they started to leave but Petty, still carrying the stolen rifle, was wrestled to the ground by the homeowner who then held Petty at gunpoint until officers arrived.

The homeowner further testified about the affect the incident has had on his family.

Although Petty never made an attempt to harm the family, Assistant District Attorney General Stephanie Johnson said this was a very serious offense.

“This was a very dangerous situation that this victim and his family were placed in. This family came home to find Petty and another person, that we never apprehended, in their home with his (homeowner’s) firearm. This homeowner had to wrestle that weapon away from him and hold him at gunpoint in front of his wife and children. Since then the family has had to rearrange bedrooms in their home. Their children don’t feel safe at home. They no longer go into their home unarmed when they are coming home. This kind of violence has a lasting affect on victims and their families and children in particular. This was a very serious offense,” said Johnson.

Johnson also challenged a so called “Strong-R” assessment in Petty’s pre-sentence report which found him to be a low risk offender.

“Anytime anyone is coming to court for sentencing, the Tennessee Department of Correction prepares what is called a pre-sentence report. That report has information that is supposed to be helpful to the judge in making a decision on how to sentence someone. It has prior history of the offender, criminal convictions, social history information such as how far he got in school, if he has had substance abuse problems, what kind of family ties he has, work history, etc. It contains all that information. This year TDOC has begun an assessment called Strong-R where an offender fills out a questionnaire which goes to someone in Nashville and they compile the answers to that questionnaire. Of course the defendant is self reporting these things. They take the answers on the questionnaire along with the offender’s history to compile what is called a Strong R report. Petty’s Strong R report indicated that he was a low risk offender. Thankfully the court did not consider that. The state found it absolutely ludicrous that someone would be a low risk offender with five prior felony convictions and the facts of this case being particularly dangerous in nature,” said Johnson.

Petty has two prior drug sale convictions, a prior vehicular assault conviction, a prior theft, and a prior attempted aggravated burglary conviction. These offenses occurred in DeKalb, Warren, and Wilson Counties dating back to the early 1990s.

"Love Lights a Tree" for the American Cancer Society

November 30, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
"Love Lights a Tree" for the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society invites you to make a special donation in honor or in memory of a loved one during the Christmas holiday season through "Love Lights a Tree". A special memory board will be erected on the south side of the courthouse that will list the names of loved ones being honored and remembered.

The DeKalb County Unit of the American Cancer Society seeks your support in the "Love Lights a Tree" fundraising campaign to raise money for research to find a cure as well as cancer education and patient services. Donations may be made throughout the holiday season. The persons you honor or remember do not necessarily have to have suffered from cancer.

The names are in "honor of" and in "memory of" for a donation of five-dollars per name. Forms may be obtained at the local banks. For more information, contact Ivadell Randolph at 615- 597-5296, Lynda Luna at 615- 597-5837, Renee Cantrell at 615-684-2688, or Gail Taylor 615-597-5936

Two Men Indicted After Being Found with Images of Child Porn

November 29, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Winston Alexander Puckett
Roy Junior Wilkey

Two men accused in separate cases of downloading child pornography have been indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury.

Winston Alexander Puckett is charged in a two count indictment for sexual exploitation of a minor and for aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor. Roy Junior Wilkey is indicted on one count of sexual exploitation of a minor.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, July 13 a search warrant was executed by a DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department Detective on a Dell laptop computer belonging to Puckett.

The computer was in Puckett’s possession on June 27 when it was turned over to law enforcement. The search warrant revealed over 400 images of child pornography that had been downloaded to the computer.

The indictment against him alleges that Puckett did unlawfully and intentionally or knowingly possess material to wit: more than 100 images that depict minors engaged in sexual activity. The second count alleges that Puckett did unlawfully and knowingly promote or possess with the intent to promote, sell, distribute, transport, purchase or exchange material, that includes a minor engaged in sexual activity or simulated sexual activity that is patently offensive.

In the case against Wilkey, Smithville Police said that on June 22 they were called to check out a possible break in at a residence on Bright Hill Road. Upon arrival they found Wilkey outside the home. He was not trying to break in but had been locked out by female minors inside the residence that he had been babysitting. One of the girls alleged that Wilkey had taken a picture of her while she was either in or coming out of the shower. Officers asked Wilkey for consent to look at his cell phone. He voluntarily turned it over to them. While no pictures were found of the children he was babysitting they did find images of child pornography that he had downloaded from the Internet. He was subsequently charged in the case.

The indictment against Wilkey alleges that on June 22, he did unlawfully and intentionally or knowingly possess material to-wit: more than 50 images that depict minors engaged in sexual activity.

Both Puckett and Wilkey will be arraigned in DeKalb County Criminal Court on December 12.

"Christmas on the Square" Set for December 7

November 29, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Community Chorus
Santa to visit with Children at Justin Potter Library
County Officials and others last year at Christmas on the Square Open House
Shan Burklow and Suzanne Williams at Lighted Christmas Tree

The Christmas season has arrived and you are invited to join in the celebration Thursday evening, December 7 downtown Smithville for “Christmas on the Square”.

The event will be held from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. on the public square.

The schedule of events has yet to be finalized but the tentative plans (subject to change) is as follows:

A tree lighting ceremony is planned outside the courthouse on the west side.

The Community Chorus will perform Christmas Classics on the steps of the courthouse (weather permitting).

Courthouse officials and the Chamber of Commerce will have an Open House. You can visit county officials on the main floor (2nd floor) of the courthouse where you’ll find lots of goodies to eat!

There will be a Free Photo Booth and Holiday Music in the courthouse compliments of the City of Smithville.

The 303 building on the north side of the square will be open for holiday music, a LIVE nativity (no animals) and a festival of trees decorated by the library and participating businesses.

Santa will be making an appearance at Justin Potter Library at 6:30 p.m. so remember to bring your camera. A Santa’s Workshop will also give children a chance to make their own Christmas ornament at the library.

And don’t forget about all the great downtown shopping!

Hope you can come for this special night – Thursday, December 7 from 5 to 8 PM - Christmas on the Square!

Man Responsible for Crash Indicted for Vehicular Assault

November 29, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Christopher Keith Lane Derrick
1996 Chevy Monte Carlo driven by Christopher Keith Lane Derrick
2005 Chevy Classic driven by Alex B. Huber

A man believed to be responsible for a head-on crash and then leaving the scene Friday afternoon, May 12 on East Broad Street has been indicted for vehicular assault and other charges.

The Grand Jury Monday indicted 21 year old Christopher Keith Lane Derrick of 323 Jackson Street, Smithville for driving under the influence, vehicular assault, evading arrest, and violation of the implied consent law

According to police, Derrick was driving east on Broad Street in a 1996 Chevy Monte Carlo when he crossed into the westbound lane and struck an oncoming 2005 Chevy Classic driven by Alex B. Huber. Dustin Allen Sullivan and Ryan Powell were passengers with Derrick. Huber and Sullivan were taken by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital. Powell refused transport by EMS to the hospital.

Witnesses said that after the crash, Derrick fled the scene on foot carrying a green and white bag heading north into the woods between Eastside Inn and Caney Fork Electric Cooperative.

Smithville Police Officers, assisted by DeKalb County Sheriff’s Deputies, set up a perimeter and conducted a foot search. Derrick was subsequently found and placed under arrest.

Derrick had suffered a large cut near his right knee and across his leg. His speech was slurred and he was very unsteady on his feet. According to police, Derrick needed help at times to maintain his balance. Field sobriety tasks were not administered due to Derrick’s injuries. He was then transported by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital. A search warrant was obtained to get a blood sample from Derrick after he refused to voluntarily submit to a blood test.

In addition to vehicular assault, Derrick was charged at the time with evading arrest, violation of the registration law and financial responsibility, driving without a license, failure to yield the right of way, and violation of the implied consent law.

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene.

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