Local News Articles

Board Recommends Gibson's law License Remain Suspended

April 28, 2007
Dwayne Page

The Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court has recommended that District Attorney General Bill Gibson's law license remain suspended.

Gibson was re-elected last August to a new eight year term as District Attorney for the 13th Judicial District, which includes DeKalb County, but in September his law license was temporarily suspended after allegations surfaced that Gibson had corresponded with a convicted murderer, whom he had prosecuted, without the knowledge of the man's defense attorney

The letters from Gibson to Chris Adams allegedly offered legal and spiritual counseling

Since the suspension, Gibson has been trying to get his law license re-instated, but the three member panel of the BPR, which was appointed to hear the petition, issued a report Thursday stating that Gibson's actions in two cases during the past few years constituted a complete betrayal of his obligations to the people in his district as well as a willful disregard of his ethical obligations as a lawyer.

As the controversy was heating up over Gibson's letters to Adams, authorities discovered another case in which Gibson may have acted unethically. The D.A. is accused of trying to get the drug conviction of a Cookeville woman, set aside without telling the judge in the case about his friendship with the defendant, Tina Sweat.

According to the BPR panel's report, Gibson used the powers of his office to manipulate the system and deceive a judge in order to help Sweat and says his denial of that obvious truth was deeply alarming to the panel hearing his petition. The report further states that Gibson's denials of manipulating the system to help Sweat indicate that he is either willing to lie under oath to protect himself or lacks even a rudimentary understanding of his ethical responsibilities as a lawyer.

Gibson remains under investigation by the TBI

A brief news release issued by the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility on Thursday states that \"On September 25, 2006, the Supreme Court entered an Order temporarily suspending William E. Gibson from the practice of law. Mr. Gibson, through counsel, filed a Petition to Dissolve or Amend the temporary suspension on October 25, 2006. A hearing was held on March 25 and 26, 2007 before a panel of the Board of Professional Responsibility. On April 26, 2007, the Hearing Panel filed their Report and Recommendation finding that Mr. Gibson continues to pose a threat of substantial harm to the public and therefore the Panel recommends that Mr. Gibson's temporary suspension not be dissolved.

Another BPR-appointed panel of lawyers is expected to be chosen to decide how Gibson is to be disciplined for his alleged violations of ethics standards.

Over Five Hundred Vote Early on Sales Tax Referendum

April 28, 2007
Dwayne Page

A total of 520 DeKalb County voters have cast ballots with one day left of early voting on the proposal to increase the local option sales tax from 1.5% to 2.75%.

A total of 70 voted on Friday, April 27th including personal appearance and by mail ballots, 21 voted on Saturday, 36 -Monday, 46- Tuesday, 38- Wednesday, 44-Thursday, 42-Friday, 31-Saturday, May 5th, 34-Monday, 31-Tuesday, 41- Wednesday, 57-Thursday, and 29 on Friday

If approved, the overall state sales tax rate in DeKalb County would go from 8.5% to 9.75%, however the county commission has pledged to reduce the property tax rate by nineteen and a half cents.

The rate was increased by 39 cents last September.

Early voting on the referendum continues through Saturday, May 12th. The special election day will be Thursday, May 17th.

All early voting will be done in the basement courtroom of the DeKalb County Courthouse.

Voting hours are from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.

On election day, May 17th, the polling places at all sixteen precincts will open at 8 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

The wording on the ballot will read:


Smithville Man Arrested on Rape Charges

April 30, 2007
Dwayne Page

A 26 year old Smithville man has been arrested by the Police Department on rape charges.

Smithville Police Chief Thomas J. Stufano says Derek Charles Riggs of 329 Smith Road was arrested Friday on two counts of Rape of a Child and two counts of Aggravated Sexual Battery of a Child under age 7.

According to Chief Stufano, \"Smithville Investigators assigned to the Sexual Assault unit had received information from a family member that Riggs was having sexual contact with his two biological children ages 4 and 6 in a motor home he was staying in on Smith Road. Through a series of interviews with family members and the juvenile victims along with forensic information, Investigators were able to determine that Riggs had sodomized and raped his four year old daughter and six year old son on a number of occasions. Smithville Police conducted a taped interview with Riggs who did admit to the sexual contacts. Riggs was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $400,000 bond. The children will remain in the custody of their mother. \"

Chief Stufano says \"This is the second high profile case involving the rape of infant and minor children within recent months. Smithville Police have created a specialized unit to handle sexual assaults and are working very closely with the Department of Children Services, the DeKalb County School system, and the District Attorney's Office. It is incumbent upon everyone to report suspicious activity involving our most precious resource, our children. The citizens of Smithville have been extremely helpful in detecting suspicious activity in our city neighborhoods. Neighborhood Crime Watch is working!

Sheriff's Department Drug Investigation Results In Two Arrests

April 30, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, conducting a drug investigation at a Bell Street residence on Saturday, arrested two people.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 26 year old Samer Abdalla of East Marthona Street, Madison is charged with unlawful possession of a schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid) and possession of drug paraphernalia and 23 year old Megan Lann of Bell Street, Smithville is charged with unlawful possession of a schedule III controlled substance (Hydrocodone) and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sheriff Ray says deputies, during their investigation at Lann's residence, found four dilaudid pills on Abdalla and paraphernalia including straws containing a yellow and white powdery residue. Officers also found on Lann, white pills believed to be hydrocodone and paraphernalia including straws and hypodermic needles.

Bond for Abdalla is set at $12,000, and $5,000 for Lann. Both will appear in General Sessions Court on the charges May 10th.

Meanwhile, in other cases 29 year old Lonnie Miller of Asbury Park Apartments in McMinnville is charged with theft over $1,000.

Sheriff Ray says Miller is charged with stealing from a residence on Bright Hill Road a 14 foot utility trailer loaded with sheet rock . The theft occurred on March 16th.

In a separate case, Sheriff Ray says a deputy stopped a vehicle on Highway 70 east on Sunday, April 29th and arrested 35 year old Alberto Cedillo of Pleasant Shade Highway, Carthage. He was charged with a first offense of driving under the influence and cited for violation of the implied consent law. His bond is $1,500.

Meanwhile, another person has been picked up on a sealed indictment returned by the Grand Jury in April as a result of the Sheriff's Departments undercover drug investigation. Sheriff Ray says 25 year old Amber Johnson is charged with sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance and sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance over .5 grams (cocaine). Her bond is $20,000.

Relay For Life Set For Friday, May 11th

May 3, 2007
Dwayne Page

Relay For Life is set for Friday, May 11th at Greenbrook Park.

It's is a fun-filled overnight event designed to celebrate survivorship and raise money for research and programs of your American Cancer Society. During the event in DeKalb County, teams of people gather at Green Brook Park and take turns walking laps around the walking trail. Each team tries to keep at least one team member on the track at all times.

Relay For Life represents the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported, and that one day cancer will be eliminated.

The theme for this year's Relay for Life will be \"Amazing Race\" .

The all night event begins Friday at 5:00 p.m. at Green Brook Park featuring lots of food, fun, and entertainment. Local cancer survivors will be introduced at 6:00 p.m. and each one will give a testimony and mention how long they have battled and survived the illness. The introduction will be followed by a Cancer Survivors Walk around the trail.

Thirty three teams specializing in various fun filled activities and food booths will be set up throughout the park, all raising money for the event. And then at 9:00 p.m. a special luminaria ceremony will be held to remember those who have lost the fight against cancer as well as the survivors.

You may order a luminaria in honor or in memory of a friend or loved one today by calling Violet Fuson at 597-4483 or Ivadell Randolph at 597-5296. You may also purchased them during Relay for Life Friday evening at the park.

Last year's event raised $100,000 dollars. The goal this year is $105,000.

DCHS Graduation Set For May 18th

May 3, 2007
Dwayne Page

A total of 154 students at DeKalb County High School will receive their diplomas during graduation exercises Friday, May 18 at 7:00 p.m. on the high school football field.

The program will feature remarks by the Valedictorian, Courtney Rhody; Salutatorian, Kendra Adcock; Class President, Ashlee Moss; and Principal Kathy Hendrix. The prestigious White Rose and Citizenship Awards will also be presented to three outstanding members of the class. Diplomas will be presented to each graduate by Director of Schools Mark Willoughby.

The honor students will also be recognized including the Valedictorian and the Salutatorian

Both Rhody and Adcock have compiled a 4.0 grade point average.

Other students earning \"Highest Distinction\" with a grade point average of 3.8 to 4.0 include Andrew Moore, Kristen James, Nickole Macy, and Jordan Atnip each with a 4.0; Annica Vettraino 3.9, Angel Lindsay 3.9, Zach Davidson 3.9, Ashleigh Wright 3.9, Justin Nokes 3.8, Chris Young 3.8, Tera Menix 3.8, and Ashley Rowland 3.8.

Students earning \"High Distinction\" with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.79 include Heather Cantrell 3.7, Joey Driver 3.7, Sarah Fury 3.7, Thomas Hale 3.7, Brandon Shaw 3.7, Rebecca Hendrixson 3.6, Gwenevere Michaels 3.6, Chase Tramel 3.6, Colby Kilgore 3.6, Brittney Bell 3.6, Josh Nokes 3.6, Danny Pirtle 3.6, and Josh Howe 3.6.

Those earning \"Distinction\" with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.59 include Amy Ashford 3.5, Tera Campbell 3.5, Kristina Heriott 3.5, Kelli Bess 3.5, Kelli Twilla 3.5, Mikey O'Conner 3.5, Tiffany Walls 3.5, Holly Hughes 3.4, Anna Trapp 3.4, Billy Fuson 3.3, Sarah Nunley 3.3, Roberta Applegate 3.3, Ashley Burchfield 3.3, Richard Schilt 3.3, Ashley McCormick 3.3, Carolina Noyola 3.3, Claire Garrett 3.3

Members of the DCHS Class of 2007 are as follows:

Alicia Dale Adams, Kendra Michelle Adcock, Tiera Danielle Anderson, Roberta Eileen Applegate, Anthony Ashburn, Amy Marie Ashford, Jordan D. Atnip, Justin C. Atnip

Anthony Lee Bain, Jessica LeAnn Bain, Curtis McAustin Barlow, Bradley Hunter Barrett, Mary Allison Batson, Brandi M. Begley, Brittney Jean Bell, Jessica Skye Berry, Kelli Michelle Bess, Mary Beth Bly, Cory Alan Bradford, Avery Kennedy Bratcher, Kasha June Bratcher, Justin Elliott Brooks, Tiffany Christine Brown, Ashley Michelle Burchfield, Keshia Meachealle Byford,

Tera Beth Campbell, Heather Danielle Cantrell, Jessica Lauren Cantrell, Nikki Leigh Cantrell, Keith J.B. Carter, Randall Kyle Centers, Ryan Lee Childers, Bobby Joe Chrisman, Crystal Diane Conners, Patrick Franklin Counts, Terry Ray Cowart, Samantha Hope Cox,

Samantha Caitlyn Daniel, Zachary Alan Davidson, Amanda Jean Dawson, Jose Rolando Delafuente, Trenton Matthew DeMilly, Amber Leigh Dickerson, Allison Diane Driver, Joey Marie Driver,

Loni Mileah Easterwood,

Terra Danielle Farler, Ashley Nicole Farris, Brittany A. Ferguson, Chelsie Lei Ford, Ashley Nichole Foutch, Kelsey Leigh Foutch, Jordon Paul Funk, Sarah Ann Fury, William Paul Fuson,

Emily Claire Garrett, Ryan Lee Garrett, Rachel Elizabeth Garrison, Stacee Marie Giles, Steven Nicholas Gilpin, Brittany Michelle Gingerich, Carolina Godinez, Coty Brandon Griffin,

Justin Allen Hale, Thomas Layne Hale, Tara Jade Hannah, Alexander Charles Harrah, Anthony Edward Hasemann, Farron L. Hendrix, Phillip Ross Hendrix, Rebecca Lucille Hendrixson, Dustin Lynn Herndon, Bradley Herriott, Kristina Lee Herriott, Joshua Stanton Howe. Holly Nicole Hughes,

Kristen Leigh James, Derek Allen Johnson, Jamie Nicole Johnson, Keith R. Johnson, Jonathan Judkins,

Michelle Keenan, Joshua Glen Kerley, Colby David Kilgore, Kayla Paig Kilgore, Amanda Michelle Knowles,

Angel Louise Lindsay, Kelly Lynn Little,

Nickole Marie Macy, Casaundra Rena Maple, Whitney Ashton Maples, Ashley Michelle McCormick, Tera Rebecca Menix, Gwenevere Amanda Michaels, Jeremy Ray Mooneyham, Andrew Levi Moore, Ashlee Nichole Moss, Christina Beth Murphy,

Karrie Lynn Neal, Amber Nichols, Eden Adora Nokes, Joshua Bradley Nokes, Justin Tyler Nokes, Carolina Renee Noyola, Sarah Alexandra Nunley,

Christopher Michael O'Conner, Matthew Bryant Orcutt, Stefany Eiliana Ortega, Kayla Renee Ottinger, Thomas K. Owens,

Shawna Leann Parsley, Joshua Lindsey Perry, Ross Matthew Peterson, Eric Danial Pettis, Danny Hearl Pirtle, Jr., Lucas Dylan Prichard, Jennifer Ashley Pyles,

Henry Clay Ratleph, Phillip Robert Redmon, Courtney Lauren Rhody, Christopher Rigsby, Martha Ilean Robertson, Gary Heath Robinson, Lance Edward Rollings, Ashley Dawn Rowland,

Kayla Rena Sanders, Richard Brandon Schilt, Wendy Michelle Scott, Brandon Kyle Shaw, Nicholas Reese Smith, William Cody Snyder, Michael Felix Sosa, Kristie Ann South, Joshua Eugene Stone, Crystal Beth Street, Brandon Christopher Sullivan,

Nathan Dale Thomason, Sarah Jessica Torres, Chase A. Tramel, Derrick Reed Tramel, Joshua Lane Tramel, Anna Leigh Trapp, Kelli Jon Twilla,

Brittany Allison Vandergriff, Drake Colton Vaughn, Annica Christine Vettraino,

Tiffany Marie Walls, Allen L. Wilkerson, James Ray Williams, Jeffery Wayne Winchester, Ashleigh Dawn Wright,

Heather Ann Yoskovich, Michael Anthony Yost, and Christopher Ryan Young.

Relay for Life Raises at Least $90,000

May 12, 2007
Dwayne Page

Hundreds gathered at Green Brook Park on a rainy Friday night for the annual Relay for Life fundraiser sponsored by the DeKalb County Unit of the American Cancer Society.

The event has generated approximately $90,000. The final count has yet to be tallied.

The event featured lots of entertainment, food, games, an ugliest man contest, a cancer survivors walk and more.

State Senator Mae Beavers was on hand to present medallions to cancer survivors. Relay for Life has a personal significance for Beavers because she too is a cancer survivor

Local Illusionists to Perform at Relay for Life

May 5, 2007
Dwayne Page

11 year olds, Devon Owens and Glenna Beaty will be participating in the Relay for Life May 11th at Greenbrook Park.

The local Wal-Mart?s relay team will have a camp with the theme ?The Magic Cure? where Devon and Glenna will be performing Mini Magic Shows all through out the evening. The Shows are scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. and continue hourly until at least 10:00 p.m.. If the interest is there one more show at 11:00 p.m. may be added.

Devon?s Dad and producer said, ?He?s has been working very hard to make this event as big as possible. I think you?ll be surprised at some of the big stage illusions that he?s bringing? The show will include some new magic and Devon?s twist on a classic or two. Devon and Glenna will also perform their award winning tribute to ?The worlds most famous magician ever?Harry Houdini?.

?I?d like to thank Wal-Mart for asking me to be a part of their camp? Devon said. ?My Granny B works there and I?m glad to get to help her help others with cancer?

Wal-Mart Relay team member Vonda Brown says \"Even though there is no ?Magic Cure? for cancer, Devon and Glenna will be doing their part to create one\". The public is invited to come to the relay and see this show. Admission to the show is just $2 and will go directly to the American Cancer Society.

You can visit Devon's Myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/magicianboy

Two Seriously Injured In Sunday Crash

May 7, 2007
Dwayne Page

Two men were seriously injured in a one auto crash Sunday afternoon on Bright Hill Road.

Trooper Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 23 year old Emmanuel Guerra Cruz was driving a 1995 Chevy Blazer, going away from Smithville, when he lost control while trying to improperly negotiate a curve. The Blazer went off the road, jumped a creek, and struck an embankment.

Both Cruz and a passenger, 30 year old Leonides Viel Guzman were seriously injured and taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where they were airlifted by a Life Flight Helicopter Ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

Trooper Raymond says Cruz tried to flee the scene immediately after the wreck but he collapsed before he could get away. Both men reside on Bright Hill Road.

The accident remains under investigation.

Sheriff's Department Makes Five Arrests in Recent Days

May 14, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has made five arrests in recent days on various charges.

27 year old James Kelly Estes of Windy Cut Street Smithville was arrested Tuesday on a sealed indictment for sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (Dilaudid). Sheriff Patrick Ray says he was also charged with simple possession after deputies found a bag of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana on his person. His total bond is $21,000

23 year old Joseph Demaio of West Main Street Alexandria was arrested Tuesday for burglary, theft of property and three counts of forgery. Sheriff Ray says Demaio broke into an office building on Driver Road in Dowelltown and stole checks from the victim. Demaio then allegedly cashed three checks in the amounts of $218 on May 3rd, $318.00 on May 4th, and $112.64 on May 6th. His total bond is $21,000

22 year old Raymond Simpson of Church Street Dowelltown was charged Friday with vandalism and leaving the scene. Sheriff Ray says Simpson was on Old Blue Springs Road cutting donuts on the pavement of the Primitive Baptist Church's parking lot. Upon leaving the parking lot and entering the roadway, Simpson lost control of his vehicle and flipped his vehicle over. Simpson damaged the pavement of the Church's parking lot and left the scene. His total bond is $10,000.

40 year old Joey Young of Adcock Cemetery Road Smithville was charged Thursday with filing a false report. Young reported to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department on May 5th that a 1998 Subaru car was stolen from his business on Highway 70 East. Sheriff Ray says through an investigation, Detectives found the vehicle was wrecked and abandoned in Davidson County on April 28th. Young admitted to DeKalb County Detectives that he was the driver of the vehicle and he was arrested locally for filing the false report. More charges are pending in Davidson County.

40 year old Martin Riley of Poss Road Smithville was arrested on Friday for theft of property. Sheriff Ray says Riley sold a door frame, door handles, lights, and windows with a combined value of over $1,000 to an individual for $50. These items were reported stolen from Mid Seasons Court Smithville.

Sheriff Ray asks you to report anyone who is trying to sell items such as power tools or building supplies for a low cost. These items might be stolen. You may report this and any crimes to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department by calling 597-4935.


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