Local News Articles

Teen Airlifted After Crash Easter Sunday

April 6, 2015
Dwayne Page
Danny Smedley Airlifted After Crash on Belk Road
Teen Airlifted After Crash Easter Sunday
Utility Pole breaks during Truck Crash on Belk Road

An 18 year old McMinnville man was airlifted after he crashed his pickup truck on Belk Road (State Highway 288) near Walker Road Sunday morning.

Danny Smedley was taken by DeKalb EMS from the scene of the accident to a helicopter landing zone set up near New Union The Baptist Church. Smedley was flown from there to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

Trooper Chris Delong of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Smedley was traveling toward Warren County in a 2006 Nissan Titan when he left the road, struck an embankment, broke a utility pole, and then went back across the highway, coming to rest in the opposite direction.

Later in the day, a Murfreesboro woman was injured in a motorcycle accident on Highway 70 near the VFW Club location.

Trooper Delong said 40 year old Katherine Lawless was on a 1998 Honda motorcycle traveling east when she hit gravel and lost control in a curve. She was transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital

Rabies Vaccination Clinics Scheduled

April 5, 2015
Dwayne Page

Spring and summer mean having fun in the sun and enjoying many outdoor activities. Keeping your family safe is also important. The Tennessee Department of Health reminds Tennesseans that preventing exposure of people and their pets to the rabies virus is a priority, especially during this time of year.

Keep vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs and cats, as required by Tennessee law and local ordinances. Owners are urged to have their dogs (3 months of age or older) and cats (6 months of age or older) vaccinated. Store purchased vaccines are not legally acceptable.

Vaccination clinics will be held on the following dates and locations:
Animal Clinic of Smithville, 440 East Broad Street (Dr. Mark Burke) In the office:
April 15: 8:00 a.m. to Noon.
April 16: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
April 17: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
April 18: 8:00 a.m. to Noon.

DeKalb County Animal Clinic, 1020 West Broad Street (Dr. Scott Little) In the office:
April 15: 8:00 a.m. to Noon
April 16: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
April 17: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
April 18: 8:00 a.m. to Noon.

Wheeler Veterinary Clinic, 690 North Congress Boulevard (Dr. Jamie Fornabaio) In the office:
April 14: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
April 15: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
April 16: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
April 17: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

A fee of $7.00 will be charged for each inoculation.

For more information contact an Environmental Health Specialist at the DeKalb County Health Department at 597-7590.

Humans can be exposed to rabies when attempting to assist, feed or handle wild animals. If a wild or domestic animal is seen as ill or acting strangely, it should be reported to your local animal control agency. Bats in particular should not be handled. If a bat is found inside, in a swimming pool, or brought home by your pets, use precautions and consult your local health department.

Rabies is a deadly virus transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal. Rabies infection occurs primarily in wildlife in Tennessee, but it can be transmitted to any mammal, including humans and family pets. Bites are the most common means of transmission; contact with saliva from an infected animal can also be a concern.

Citizens can take the following actions to help prevent the spread of rabies:

Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come into contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately.
Keep children away from any wild or dead animals. Educate them not to touch or attempt to pick up, feed or handle any wild or unfamiliar domestic animals, especially those that are or appear to be sick or injured.

Do not disturb bats. Instead, consult your local health department or animal control agency for assistance in dealing with potential exposure to bats.

For more information or assistance with a potential rabies exposure, call your local health department or the Tennessee Department of Health emergency line at 615-741-7247.

Elvis Tribute with J.D. Sumner’s Stamps Quartet returning to Smithville

April 4, 2015
J.D. Sumner’s Stamps Quartet
Tom Duggin and the Tim Colwell Band

By popular demand, an Elvis tribute show is returning to the DeKalb County Community Center this summer.

On Saturday, August 1, a tribute to the late King of Rock ‘n Roll will hit the community center stage for two performances, featuring local personality Tom Duggin, the Tim Colwell Band, and J.D. Sumner’s Stamps Quartet, featuring four members of the legendary gospel quartet who backed Elvis on stage from 1971 until the singer’s death in August, 1977.

“When we put on the show in 2013, we actually had the official “Stamps Quartet,” who still carry the legendary group name,” noted Duggin. “The Stamps have been regularly booked on other tribute shows, particularly in Las Vegas and in Berlin, Germany, these past couple of years, so they were unavailable to us this summer.”

Fortunately, Duggin said, Sumner’s Stamps Quartet as they are known – a quartet featuring Donnie Sumner, Bill Baize, Ed Hill and Larry Strickland – were available and excited about the possibility of playing an Elvis tribute show in the Middle Tennessee area.

“All four of these guys worked with Elvis during the 70s, and have each had a prestigious musical career of their own,” said Duggin. “When speaking with Donnie Sumner, he and the group were excited to be playing in a venue close to home, as all four have ties to the Middle Tennessee area.”

Sumner, the nephew of the late, legendary bass singer J.D. Sumner, whom the group was named after, actually had two stints with Elvis. Sumner sang lead when the Stamps first joined Elvis in 1971, but left the group in 1972. However, Elvis came calling again in 1973, as Sumner had joined a group called “Voice,” which backed Presley along with the Stamps for two years. Sumner penned two Presley tunes during the 1970s, and is best remembered by fans for his stellar version of the gospel classic, “The Lighthouse,” featured in the 1972 documentary, “Elvis on Tour.”

Baize was the Stamps’ tenor singer from 1971-76, when he left the group and the music business for a number of years. Baize has written many songs over the years, in addition to preaching and singing in several churches throughout the United States. Baize has also performed at a number of Elvis tribute shows in recent years.

Hill boasts a 55-year music career, six years of which he spent with Presley as a member of the Stamps from 1971-77. Of note in Elvis circles was the rich baritone voice of Ed Hill, which always proclaimed at the end of each night’s performance, “Elvis has left the building. Thank you and good night.” He has also served as a backup performer for such acts as Tammy Wynette, Ronnie McDowell, Dottie West and Ricky Skaggs.

Strickland was brought on board with the Stamps in 1974, as a second bass singer in the group. He sang with the Stamps backing Elvis until his death in 1977. Strickland left the stage in 1989, when he married Naomi Judd, the mother in the famous country duo, The Judds. In addition to helping manage both Naomi and daughter, Wynonna Judd’s respective careers, Strickland has also returned to the stage in recent years to sing gospel music as well as participate in various Elvis tribute shows.

Duggin fronted Smithville’s last Elvis tribute show, titled “Aloha 40,” which was held in August, 2013. He will return to sing Elvis’ songs in this year’s event, being titled “From Memphis to Vegas.”

“That’s kind of how it went for Elvis,” Duggin said. “It all started in Memphis and then came the great concert years with many, many shows under the bright lights of Las Vegas. Much like last time, our show this year will have the feel of a live Elvis concert, with many of the songs he loved to perform live during the 1970s.”

The Tim Colwell Band will return to provide the music for the show, which will also feature a trio of female backup singers along with a brass ensemble. As was the case in the 2013 show, Sumner’s Stamps will open the show with a set of their own, which will likely include stories about their time with Elvis.

“That’s absolutely my favorite part of the show,” Duggin admitted. “I love sitting back and listening to them recounting their days with Elvis with their fond memories. Being the fan I am, I could listen to those stories all day.”

Like 2013, Duggin won’t don the jumpsuit or grow sideburns as is the case with many Elvis tribute artists. “I love Elvis’ songs,” he said. “I’m not Elvis. No one ever will be. The impersonators do what they do and for them, that’s fine. I will honor my musical hero by simply singing his songs and putting on a stage show to the best of my ability.”

A ticket pre-sale for the show will take place from April 1 to June 1, with tickets priced at $20 each. A minimum of 500 tickets must be sold by the June 1 date in order to ensure the show can be fully funded. If enough tickets are not sold by the June 1 date, full refunds will be given out to those who purchased tickets. After June 1, the price of the tickets will go up to $25 each, which will remain the price until tickets are sold out or the show date is reached.

“We’ve had so much demand for the show, I honestly expect the tickets to go fast,” said Duggin. “We’re again doing two shows to hopefully get as many people in as possible, but the number of tickets we can sell is limited. My hope is that people who are interested in going will purchase their tickets early, so we can be sure we can fully fund the cost of the show.”

Show times on Saturday, August 1, will be 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Ticket buyers can select which show they prefer to attend until each show is sold out; however, tickets are relatively limited for each show, so those interested in attending are encouraged to buy as early as possible. All seats are general admission and people will be seated at each show on a first-come, first-served basis. Current ticket outlets are the DeKalb County Community Center in Smithville, the Cannon County Chamber of Commerce Office in Woodbury, Koncept Kustom Werkz in Cookeville or by contacting Tom Duggin via call or text at (615) 464-3185.

WJLE Radiothon Raises Over $5,000 for DCHS Project Graduation

April 3, 2015
Dwayne Page
DCHS student Jacob Washer Takes a Pledge during Radiothon (Judith Hale Photo)
DCHS Teacher Chris Vance Interviews Students Leah Burchfield and Katie Willoughby (Judith Hale Photo)
DCHS Teacher Chris Vance Interviews Student MaKalee Ruch  (Judith Hale Photo)
DCHS Teacher Chris Vance Interviews Student Bailey Hayes (Judith Hale Photo)

More than $5,000 was raised during a three hour radiothon Friday morning on WJLE for the DCHS Class of 2015 Project Graduation.

DCHS teacher Chris Vance and David Hedge co-hosted the program and parents of high school seniors who serve on the Project Graduation committee answered phones, taking pledges during the drive. Several members of the DCHS Class of 2015 also participated.

Parents and students wish to thank everyone who supported the radiothon.

Project Graduation is an all night drug-free, alcohol-free graduation party for members of the DCHS Class of 2015 committed to having a safe, wholesome, yet entertaining celebration together for the last time as a class.

Judith Hale, President of the Project Graduation Committee said she is pleased with the results of the Radiothon. "It's more than what I was expecting. We were hoping for $5,000 and we actually got $5,060."

"Project Graduation is in its 16th year. Our community has played a huge part in wanting to keep our children of DeKalb County safe by all the donations and prayers. I would like to personally thank the people of DeKalb County for all that they have done," said Hale.

"On the night of Project Graduation, we'll have people come in and bring games and we'll have a lot of churches donate food and things along that line for the teens. With so much going on we plan to stay busy the whole night," she said.

Other fundraising events are planned including a plant sale on Saturday, April 11 starting at 8:00 a.m. at the DeKalb Middle School parking lot. Local nurseries are donating plants for the sale. A fishing tournament will take place on Saturday, April 18 from 7:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at Ragland Bottom Recreation Area on Center Hill Lake. Proceeds will benefit the DCHS Class of 2015 Project Graduation

Local Girl Scouts Making Plans for Fundraising 5K and Fun Run

April 2, 2015
Dwayne Page
Local Girl Scouts Making Plans for Fundraising 5K and Fun Run

Local Girl Scout Troop #343 is hosting a fundraising event to help cover costs of a trip to Europe in 2017.

The "Run Your Cookies Off 5K and Samoa Shuffle one-mile fun run" will be Saturday, May 30 starting and finishing at the Smithville Church of Christ. The races will start at 8:00 a.m.

Proceeds will fund the local girl scouts' visit to the Girl Scout World Centers in London and Switzerland in 2017.

Registration is $25.00 and Girl Scout or Boy Scout troops who sign up together will get a discount. T-shirts will be available for everyone and an awesome finishers medal. Anyone who wears their Scouting Vest or Sash will get a patch.

Registration forms are at the County Complex or you may register online from their facebook page "Run Your Cookies Off and Samoa Shuffle Fun Run"

(PICTURED: SEATED- Baylee Phillips, Rachel Fuson, Sahara Lafever, and Callie Cripps; STANDING- Joannie Williams, Zoe Cripps, Kristen Parsley, and Amy Cripps)

School Board May Consider Director Buyout Offer Monday Night

April 2, 2015
Dwayne Page
Director of Schools Mark Willoughby and School Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III

How much longer will Mark Willoughby remain as Director of Schools?

The DeKalb County Board of Education is expected to take up that issue when it convenes in a special called session on Monday, April 6 at 7:00 p.m. at the Board of Education Building. The agenda calls it a "discussion of the Director of Schools contract". A work session is tentatively set prior to the special meeting Monday night at 6:00 p.m.

Director Willoughby, who has held the position since July 1, 2006, announced plans to retire as of June 30 during a meeting with central office staff on Monday, March 16. He also notified the board with an email communication during that meeting.

Although he still has more than two years left in his contract, Willoughby believes the time has come for him to step down. But rather than let him stay on through June 30, some members of the board apparently want to cut ties with Willoughby now and offer him a buyout through June 30th. The cost of a buyout to the school system would be approximately $28,000 according to Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III.

The board was apparently scheduled to consider a buyout option during a special called meeting held Monday, March 23 but deferred action until April 6 in order to get a legal clarification on what the board's obligations are under the contract. Although Willoughby gave a 107 day notice of his retirement, the board apparently wants to know if a 30 day notice is sufficient?

If the board members should vote to buyout Director Willoughby's contract, they would have to find the money and then name someone to serve as interim director until a new director is under contract. "We need to talk to members of the county commission and county mayor and if they say it's good to go maybe we can pull this money out of the sinking fund (local option sales tax fund) and not affect our budget. That will give us an opportunity to find an interim director. I know we can go a few days without one but we can't go for very long," Chairman Evins said.

Election Officials Attend Voter Registration Software Seminar

April 1, 2015
Michelle Riley and Dennis Stanley

51 election officials from 25 Tennessee counties met in Wilson County on March 27th, to learn more about their voter registration software. Michelle Riley, Embry Consulting, conducted the seminar- answering questions, unveiling new applications and listening to ideas from the everyday users.

“Having this opportunity to meet with so many of our clients at one location has been a great experience. Every county in Tennessee has different needs. We strive to provide a voter registration system that works well in every jurisdiction,” said Riley.

Dennis Stanley, DeKalb County Administrator of Elections said, “Every county in Tennessee has many of the same election administration challenges just on different scales depending on the number of voters. Coming together to learn how to best utilize the tools we have and learn from each other’s experiences benefits the voters of every county.”

Accurate voter registration rolls are the foundation of elections. Election Day is the culmination of work done every day at the Election Commission in preparation for that big day. DeKalb County processes new registrations each month. In addition to new voters, the Commission staff processes address changes, name changes, removes voters that have moved from the county or are deceased. Properly maintaining DeKalb County’s voter rolls is a daily task.

With over 11,000 eligible voters, the job of maintaining voter rolls would be costly without technology. DeKalb County and 79 other Tennessee counties use Voter Central registration software. Voter Central is a Tennessee owned company serving county election commissions in Tennessee.

The seminar was hosted by the Wilson County Election Commission at their training facility in Lebanon, TN.

Contact the DeKalb County Election Commission at 615-597-4146 or dekalbelections@dtccom.net with your questions and for information about voting, voter registration and elections.


“Reeling in the Years” Returns April 11

April 1, 2015
Dwayne Page
Shawn Jacobs and Dennis Stanley

Many of us have often had a longing for the past, a yearning for yesterday.

With nostalgia in mind, another edition of “Reeling in the Years” will air on WJLE the night of April 11.

Former WJLE announcers Dennis Stanley and Shawn Jacobs host the program that will feature the pop/rock music and artists of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

“We’ll be playing many of the songs that today’s 50 to 65 year old residents remember as teens and young adults,” said both Jacobs and Stanley. “The music you will hear on our show will bring back many fond memories. We’ve made sure our playlist includes a few songs that were popular during April in a number of years in the 1970s. It’s those little details we want to incorporate into our show to make it even more enjoyable.”

The program will also showcase the diversity of the pop/rock music scene during a time of transition in the lives of our listeners and in the world.

“During the days we were ‘disc jockeys,’ WJLE and radio stations throughout the country were playing music that ranged from soul, rock, southern rock to disco music. All of those genres were mixed within the same program, and ironically, it worked,” said Jacobs and Stanley.

The April 11 program will air from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on WJLE FM and will be the second of four shows planned for 2015.

Man Charged with Assaulting His Uncle with an Axe Handle

March 31, 2015
Dwayne Page
Devin French (Older Photo)

Smithville Police have charged a man with aggravated domestic assault for allegedly attacking his uncle with a wooden axe handle.

29 year old Devin A. French is under a $5,000 bond and he will be in court on April 23.

According to a report by Corporal Chip Avera, " On Wednesday, March 25 Officer Lance Dillard and I were dispatched to City Walk Apartments after receiving a report of a man being beaten up. While enroute, dispatch advised that the victim and the suspect had left together in a white truck. Officer Dillard located the vehicle and stopped it in the Sonic parking lot. We spoke to the victim, who was bleeding from his face and head. The man said he was beaten up while at City Walk Apartments and he thought his nephew, French may have done it".

Corporal Avera's report continued " We spoke with the driver of the vehicle, French who said that his uncle was jumped by a group of people at City Walk Apartments and he was trying to help his uncle. French had blood on his hands, knuckles, pants, and shoes. There was blood in the bed of the truck and on the tailgate of the truck. Officers also found a wooden ax handle in the bed of the truck that had blood on it. They spoke to Devin's girlfriend who said the three of them were riding in the truck together and Devin got into a verbal argument with the victim and that when they got to City Walk Apartments, Devin had enough and began beating the victim. An anonymous 911 caller reported that Devin had also bragged to others at City Walk Apartments that he had beaten up someone there."

French was determined to have been the primary aggressor and was arrested.

39 year old Jimmy Layne Estes is charged with robbery. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court April 16.

According to Smithville Police, Corporal Travis Bryant was dispatched to a robbery on Monday, March 23 which had occurred on West Broad Street. After the incident, the victim had gone to 632 Highland Street. Upon arrival Corporal Bryant met with the victim who said he was at home at 443 West Broad Street when he answered the door to an unknown male (Estes). After the victim opened the door, the male suspect (Estes) grabbed his phone from him and threw it out in the yard. The man (Estes) then struck the victim in the head and took about $45 from his wallet. The man (Estes) also took the victim's cane and struck him with it. The victim gave a description of the suspect and police located him (Estes) in the vicinity of the robbery a short time later. A search of his person revealed about $43 concealed in his underwear. Estes, who was identified by the victim at the police department incident to arrest, told police had had been with his aunt all day.

Prior to this incident, Estes was charged by Smithville Police on Sunday, March 8 with public intoxication and cited for simple possession of a schedule III drug and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on these offenses April 23. According to police, someone approached Officer Matt Farmer to report that a man wearing a red hoodie was walking beside South Mountain Street and that he appeared to be intoxicated. Officer Farmer responded and found the man walking on the sidewalk, weaving from side to side. He appeared to be having trouble keeping his balance. The officer stopped and talked to the man, whom he recognized as Estes. His speech was slurred and his eyes were red and watery. When asked if he had been drinking or taking anything to impair him, Estes replied that he had smoked a joint earlier. Asked if he was carrying anything illegal on him, Estes said he had two syringes in his pocket. Estes produced the syringes and placed them on the hood of the patrol car. Officer Farmer then asked Estes to empty his pockets. Estes produced a cut black straw containing residue along with a white Ibuprofen bottle containing a partial orange pill. Estes called it his Subutex pill. He could not provide a prescription for the pill. Estes was placed under arrest.

51 year old Paul Andrew Hall is charged with the domestic assault of his stepson. His bond is $2,500. According to police, Corporal Travis Bryant responded to 1222 South College Street on Sunday, March 8 in reference to a domestic dispute between a stepfather and stepson. Upon arrival, Corporal Bryant spoke with Hall who said he had been in a verbal argument with his wife. Hall's stepson said he came out of his room and went into Paul's room to calm the situation. Paul then allegedly grabbed him by the neck and began pushing him back. Corporal Bryant observed marks on the stepson's neck and his face was swollen where he had been struck. He also observed a cut to Paul's forehead. The wife said she witnessed Paul push the juvenile first. Paul was placed under arrest.

41 year old Stephanie A. Murphy is charged with public intoxication. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on April 23. According to police, Patrolman Will D. Judkins received a call from dispatch regarding a gray Nissan Xtera swerving all over the road on West Broad Street. Dispatch then advised that the vehicle had pulled into the parking lot of the Smithville BP gas station. The tag came back to Murphy. The officer stopped to make a welfare check on the driver, Murphy, in the parking lot of Smithville BP. She was unsteady on her feet and had slurred speech. Murphy, who submitted to field sobriety tasks, said she had taken several oxy's. Murphy was placed under arrest.

48 year old Marty Brad Tallent is charged with resist, stop, halt, frisk, arrest, or search and disorderly conduct. His bond is $2,000 and he will be in court on April 9. Smithville Police report that on Monday, March 23 Sergeant Brad Tatrow saw Tallent walking down the middle of the roadway into oncoming traffic with a guitar over his shoulder. Traffic was having to stop and back up to avoid him. Sergeant Tatrow stopped and got out of his vehicle, ordering Tallent to get out of the roadway. Tallent refused to comply with the verbal commands and turned toward the officer. Sergeant Tatrow continued issuing verbal commands for Tatrow to stop but he kept advancing and appeared to be aggressive. When it appeared that Tallent was not going to stop and fearing that he was going to be struck with the guitar, Sergeant Tatrow deployed and activated his taser. Tallent was then placed in custody.

31 year old Johnny Lynn DeVault is charged with violation of bond conditions. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court April 9. According to police, on Thursday, March 19 Sergeant Brad Tatrow received information that Devault was at the home of his mother, who has an active "no contact" bond condition against him. Upon going to his mother's home on Miller Road, Sergeant Tatrow found that Devault was there with his mother, which violates his bond condition. He was placed under arrest.

20 year old Thomas Lynn Rains was issued citations for speeding, failure to stop at a traffic control device (stop sign) and reckless endangerment, and he was charged with evading arrest. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on April 23. Police report that on Monday, March 9 Patrolman Will Judkins was traveling north on South Congress Boulevard when he spotted a Ford Mustang traveling at a speed of 53 miles per hour in a posted 30 mile per hour zone. He then turned around and activated his emergency lights in an effort to stop the vehicle. The Mustang turned west on East Bryant Street and failed to stop at the College Street intersection. The officer activated his siren but the Mustang ran more stop signs, gaining more speed. He then turned south onto South Mountain Street, west on Kendra Drive, north on Georgia Lane, east on Miller Road, north on Anthony Avenue, west on West Broad Street, and north on Duncan Lane at which point the officer lost sight of the car. Patrolman Judkins terminated the pursuit but continued looking for the Mustang. He later saw it setting in the road on Coo-Coo Lane. After activating his emergency lights, Patrolman Judkins stopped and spoke with the driver, Rains, who said the reason he ran from the officer was because he was scared. Rains was then placed under arrest.

47 year old Andreas B. Allen of Sparta is charged with criminal impersonation. His bond is $1,500. According to police on Tuesday, March 3 Lieutenant Detective Matt Holmes responded to a call at McDonalds where the manager reported that a man there was harassing an employee. He said the man had been there several times before and that he had been asked to leave the property. Sheriff's Department Detective Jeremy Taylor advised Holmes prior to his arrival that he observed the man acting suspiciously walking through the woods and hiding behind the dumpsters at McDonalds. Upon Holmes' arrival, Detective Taylor advised him that he had seen the man's vehicle pulling out of the McDonald's parking lot heading southbound on South Congress Boulevard. The car was stopped at the Food Lion parking lot. The driver was Billy Knowles. The officer asked a passenger in the vehicle for his identification. The man could not produce an ID but said his name was Steven Allen and that his birthday was December 1, 1976. Officers later learned that the man, Andreas B. Allen had lied about his identity and that his actual birth date is March 12, 1968. He was placed under arrest. Allen told police that he lied about his name because he feared there might be warrants against him.

18 year old Ray Franklin Vincent is charged with assault. He is under a $2,500 bond. Police report that on Sunday, March 8 Sergeant Travis Bryant was dispatched to an assault call at 194 Village Place. While enroute, Sergeant Bryant was advised by dispatch that the suspect had left the scene in a gray sedan. As he approached the intersection of College and Main Streets, the officer saw a vehicle matching that description. He stopped the automobile and spoke with Vincent. According to Sergeant Bryant, Vincent told him that he had just been in a physical altercation at his girlfriend's residence. The victim later told police that he and Vincent's ex-girlfriend were sitting in his car when Vincent opened the door, pulled him out, and began to assault him. Another woman, who was inside the house, came outside when she saw what has happening and tried to pull Vincent off the victim. But Vincent allegedly kicked her in the face and struck her in the side of the stomach.

Prisoner in DeKalb Murder Case Released on Parole

March 31, 2015
Dwayne Page
Melvin Eugene Turnbill

A man serving a twenty five year prison sentence in a 2002 DeKalb County murder case is now a free man.

According to Melissa McDonald, Communications Director for the Tennessee Board of Parole, 43 year old Melvin Eugene Turnbill has met the conditions for parole and was released from prison on Monday, March 9. He was incarcerated at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex in Pikeville

Almost a year ago, members of the Tennessee Board of Parole voted to release Turnbill to parole supervision provided he complete a nine to twelve month substance abuse program called "Therapeutic Community", and get a release plan approved. The board also voted that Turnbill receive a substance abuse after-care referral upon leaving prison, and that he be assessed for substance abuse treatment once he is under parole supervision. The assessment is to be completed by TDOC staff.

After a hearing on Thursday morning May 1, 2014, parole board member Tim Gobble voted to parole Turnbill with the aforementioned conditions. The hearing was held at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex in Pikeville, where Turnbill was incarcerated. Gobble was not at the prison. He presided by video conference from another location. After the hearing, the file was sent to other parole board members, who reviewed it and cast their votes. Three matching votes were required for a final decision in the case.

In September 2003, Turnbill received a twenty five year sentence after pleading guilty in DeKalb County Criminal Court to facilitating the first degree murder of Joshua Murphy, who was shot and killed in a secluded area in the Laurel Hill Community at the end of Old Eagle Creek Road on Sunday, September 15, 2002. His body was discovered three days later.

Officials said Turnbill and a co-defendant, Christopher Nicholas Orlando suspected Murphy of stealing methamphetamine. Orlando, the triggerman in the killing, was tried and convicted of the crime by a DeKalb County Criminal Court Jury in April, 2004. Orlando, serving a 45 year prison sentence for facilitation of first degree murder, is incarcerated at the Northeast Correctional Complex in Mountain City, Tennessee. Orlando was denied parole following a hearing in March, 2013. He will be up for parole again in 2016.

Turnbill's sentence is due to expire on April 28, 2022. He has served twelve years and six months of the term. Last May's parole hearing was the second for Turnbill. He was denied release three years ago following his first hearing due to the seriousness of the offense.

In making his plea for parole, Turnbill told Gobble that he has a new outlook on life. "I believe I have changed. I believe my attitude has changed. I know for sure that I'm not going back in any kind of drug activity. I know I can honestly say that. I just wish I could be given a second chance," said Turnbill.


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