Local News Articles

Smithville Couple Caught During Burglary and Theft

May 6, 2014
Dwayne Page
Stephen Jason Moore
Julie Elaine Moore
John Allen Judkins, Jr.
Autumn Danielle White
Donna Annette Bogle
Lori Denise Bogle
Suzanne Nicole Mitchell
Robert Austin Hale

A Smithville couple was arrested by members of the Sheriff's Department last week during a burglary in progress.

38 year old Stephen Jason Moore and 33 year old Julie Elaine Moore both of Cookeville Highway, Smithville are each charged with burglary and theft of property under $500. Bond for each is $3,000 and they will be in court on May 15.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, April 28, both Stephen and Julie Moore broke into a vacant house on Cookeville Highway. "We received a call of them breaking into the house. Deputies and detectives of the Sheriff's Department got down there and caught both of them in the house," said Sheriff Ray. The Moore's were caught taking a Jesus figurine, metal pots and pans, and electronic devices. Sheriff Ray said they admitted to committing the burglary and thefts.

40 year old John Allen Judkins, Jr. of Jefferson Road, Smithville is charged with the domestic assault of his ex-wife, with whom he was still living. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court June 19.

Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, April 28, a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Jefferson Road in response to a physical domestic. The officer made contact with Judkins and the victim. She said that Judkins had lunged at her and when she turned her back to him, Judkins hit or slapped her in the back. She had a large red mark and scratches on her back. Judkins was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

39 year old Autumn Danielle White of Page Drive in Smithville is charged with public intoxication and simple possession of a schedule II drug. Her bond is $3,500 and she will be in court on May 22. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, April 29 a deputy responded to Nashville Highway in Liberty where a woman was reported to be passed out in a vehicle. Upon arrival, the officer found White passed out in the driver's seat of a black Nissan Maxima. In the cup holder next to the driver's seat was an open 40 ounce bottle of Smirnoff Ice Beer half full. On the driver's seat between White's legs was a plastic bag containing three grams of a powdery substance believed to be methamphetamine. When she awoke, White's speech was slurred and she was very unsteady on her feet. She was believed to be under the influence of alcohol and or drugs. To prevent her from operating a motor vehicle for her safety and that of the public, White was arrested for public intoxication and taken to the jail. She was also charged with the drug offense. Sheriff Ray added that White has had two or more prior convictions of possession of a schedule II drug.

39 year old Donna Annette Bogle of Barnes Mill Road, Smithville is charged with disorderly conduct. Her bond is $1,000 and she will be in court May 15. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, April 29 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Barnes Mill Road in response to an unwanted guest call. The officer observed Bogle yelling and screaming at a family member. When the deputy tried to speak with Bogle, she refused to stop talking and would not answer any of the officer's questions. She was asked several times to calm down and stop talking so the deputy could find out what was going on. After several unsuccessful attempts to get her to calm, the deputy placed Bogle under arrest for disorderly conduct.

46 year old Lori Denise Bogle of Walker Drive, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on May 22. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, May 1 a deputy was dispatched to Marina Drive in response to a non-personal injury auto accident with property damage. Upon arrival, the officer observed a blue Toyota that had struck a tree The deputy spoke with the driver, Bogle who said she was driving home when her car left the roadway and hit the tree. Bogle was very unsteady on her feet and she had trouble keeping her eyes open. Her speech was also slurred. Bogle submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. She also submitted to a blood test. For her safety and that of the public, Bogle was arrested and brought to the jail.

44 year old David D. Anderson of Gard Lane, Smithville is cited for simple possession of a schedule II drug (Dilaudid). He will be in court on May 15. Sheriff Ray said while talking to Anderson at a place of business in Alexandria, a drug detective of the Sheriff's Department spotted a plastic bag in Anderson's front right pocket. Anderson pulled the bag from his pocket and handed it to the detective. The bag contained one Dilaudid pill for which Anderson had no prescription.

Suzanne Nicole Mitchell of Evins Mill Road, Smithville is charged with simple possession of a schedule IV drug and domestic assault. Her bond is $3,500 and she will be in court on May 22. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, May 4 a deputy responded to a residence on Evins Mill Road in response to a domestic assault call. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with a Mitchell family member who said that Mitchell had become upset and started screaming at her, pushed her, and chased her out of the house. Fearing imminent bodily injury, the victim ran next door to her brother's residence for safety where another family member called 911. Mitchell was determined to be the primary aggressor and was placed under arrest. Upon receiving consent to search Mitchell's belongings, the officer found inside a brown leather clutch purse, a small black container which held eight oval peach colored pills believed to be xanax. She was charged with the drug offense.

18 year old Robert Austin Hale of Lower Helton Road, Alexandria is charged with aggravated assault. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court on May 15. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, May 4 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Lower Helton Road for a physical domestic in progress. The officer spoke with Hale and the victim (Hale's wife). The woman said that she had come to the residence to pick up a house key so that she could get her clothes. When she pulled into the driveway, Hale told her to get out and come in. He said no one was there and that she would not get hurt. The woman's three year old son got out of the car and went to get the keys off the tailgate of the truck. Hale took the keys away from the child and placed them back on the tailgate, saying these were not the right keys. The woman then got out of the car and picked up the keys off the tailgate, but Hale took the keys away from her. She got back into her car but as she tried to start it, Hale reached in and forcibly took the car keys from her, put them in his front pocket, and walked inside the house. The woman followed him into the house, asking for him to give her back the keys so that she and the child could leave. As she picked up a phone and tried to call another family member to come and get her, Hale took the phone from her, grabbed her by the throat, and slammed her to the ground. Hale then held the woman to the ground by trying to strangle her. After he stopped trying to strangle her, Hale got up and walked outside. The woman, in fear of her life, called 911. The deputy arrived and saw that the woman had red marks on her chest and hand prints around her neck. After an investigation, Hale was determined to have been the primary aggressor and he was arrested.

Smithvillle Police Department Awarded K9 Ballistic Vest

May 6, 2014
Dwayne Page
K9 Leo of the Smithville Police Department

The Smithville Police Department has been awarded a ballistic vest for K9 "Leo" thanks to a non profit organization, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.

A total of $16,595.00 has been donated to the charity from the “K9 Kota Campaign” to provide vests for seventeen K9s in Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, New Jersey, California and Indiana.

The “K9 Kota Campaign” held an online event selling over 1,350 tee shirts for the cause.

K9 Kota is a law enforcement dog with the Winchester Police Department in Virginia that sustained a work related injury on January 3, 2014. The dog fell through an attic floor onto a hardwood floor while detaining a suspect. Although the injury was severe to his right front leg, Kota climbed back up the flight of stairs to continue the fight. After months of surgery and physical therapy his return to police work is still unknown.

Locally, K9 Officer James Cornelius and K9 Leo of the Smithville Police Department have been working together for just over three years. Officer Cornelius has been in law enforcement for almost four years. K9 Leo is a five year old Dutch Shepherd that has been working for four years. K9 Leo had one handler prior to Officer Cornelius. K9 Leo and Officer Cornelius were paired in March of 2011 and completed 120 hours of initial training with Dean Hunter of Canine Command. They continue to attend monthly maintenance training with Hunter and recertify yearly with the USPCA.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, Massachusetts whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. Each vest costs $950.00 and has a 5 year warranty. The nonprofit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially life saving body armor for their four legged K9 Officers. Through private and corporate sponsorships, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 930 law enforcement dogs in 39 states with protective vests since 2009 at a cost of $880,000.

The organization orders the U.S. made vests exclusively from distributor Regency Police Supply in Hyannis, Massachusetts, who also does the custom embroidery on the body armor. Vests are manufactured by Armor Express in Central Lake, Michigan.

New K9 graduates as well as K9's with expired vests are eligible to participate. The program is open to law enforcement dogs who are US employed, certified and at least 19 months of age.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. was named as a charity partner in March of 2014 in a nation wide Groupon Campaign which raised over $335,000 in 19 days. The non profit will be providing over 350 law enforcement dogs nationwide with the protective body armor in memory of K9 Rocco of the Pittsburgh Police Department who sacrificed his life in the line of duty in January of 2014. All vests will be embroidered with the sentiment, "In Memory of K9 Rocco, Pittsburgh Police Department".

For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Tax deductible donations are accepted via mail to: Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718 or via the website: www.vik9s.org.

K-9 Officer James Cornelius and K-9 Leo have been working together for just over 3 years. Officer Cornelius has been in Law Enforcement for close to four years. K-9 Leo is a 5 year old Dutch Shepherd who has been working for four years. K-9 Leo had one handler prior to Officer Cornelius. K-9 Leo and Officer Cornelius were paired up in March of 2011 at which point they completed 120 hours of initial training with Dean Hunter of Canine Command. They continue to attend monthly maintenance training with Dean and recertify yearly with the USPCA.

City Annexation to Take Effect In 30 Days

May 5, 2014
Dwayne Page
Annexation Map

The Smithville Aldermen Monday night adopted on second and final reading an ordinance to annex six parcels of property and a portion of another parcel as well as the right of way of Old Snow Hill Road and part of Nashville Highway (Highway 70) on the west side of the city.

Within thirty days, the properties Ed Young, Mike Foster, Dr. David Foutch, Pat Walls, John Kilgore, and Jim Beshearse will be annexed into the city.

annexation map_0.pdf (341.79 KB)

The aldermen also approved on second and final reading an ordinance to amend the zoning map of the city to include three of these parcels in the R-1 Residential Zone along with a portion of the Right of Way on the Old Snow Hill Road.

A third ordinance was adopted on second and final reading to amend the zoning map to include the remaining parcels in the B-2 General Business District as well as a portion of the right of way of Nashville Highway (Highway 70). These parcels include Kilgore's Restaurant, Dr. Foutch's Eye Care office, the old Beshearse Grocery store building, and Young's undeveloped property.

Public hearings were held on the proposed annexation and zoning ordinances prior to final passage, but no opposition was expressed by anyone in attendance.

In accordance with state law, the aldermen last month adopted a resolution outlining a Plan of Services (POS) including sewer, that will be made available to the land being annexed and the timeframe within which services and/or amenities are to be provided. The city's plans for making sewer services available to the annexed area have been sent to the state for approval.

In other business, the aldermen awarded a bid in the amount of $28,500 to the Putnam County Tree Service to cut and remove trees that are penetrating the approach paths at the airport in violation of FAA regulations. This was the only bid received. The city has already secured a $50,000 grant with a five percent local match for the work to be done.

Airport Manager Wesley Nokes explained last October why the work is needed. "It's been several years since the approaches at the airport have been cleared from obstructions. You are required by the FAA to maintain your approaches. An approach is an imaginary trapazoid that extends off each end of the runway. It's basically like a square ice cream cone and the farther you go out the higher up it gets. It starts at the ground on the runway. Right off the end of the runway, you have to keep that pretty well free and clear of trees and other obstacles. We have some trees that have grown up and according to the FAA survey these trees are penetrating our approaches now. We're going to have to remove them. TDOT advised us to apply for a grant for $50,000 to clear all these obstacles. It is a 95/5% matching grant. A five percent cost to the city, which is $2,500. The FAA can shut down our approaches because of this and they actually have shut down our night time GPS approaches at the airport. This is something we need to get taken care of pretty quickly. You can land at night in VFR which is good weather. When the weather is marginal, that's when your GPS approaches are not valid," said Nokes.

The aldermen will soon start work on the proposed 2014-15 fiscal year city budget. A workshop has been set for Thursday, May 15 at 9:00 a.m. at city hall. City department heads will meet with the mayor and aldermen and city financial advisor Janice Plemmons-Jackson to make their budget requests for the new year.

City building codes inspector Eugene O'Neil resigned his position as of April 30th. The aldermen voted to hire Lionel Williams of Cookeville to replace O'Neil as codes inspector, at least on a temporary basis for now. City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson said Williams is certified and currently does codes inspections for DeKalb and other cities and counties in the area.

Anita Puckett Named DeKalb County Teacher of the Year

May 5, 2014
Dwayne Page
Mark Willoughby, Anita Puckett, Amanda Dakas, and Roy Nelson Pugh
Teachers of the Year with their Principals, Director of Schools, and Roy Nelson Pugh of Liberty State Bank

An eighth grade teacher at DeKalb Middle School was named "DeKalb County Teacher of the Year" Monday night during the seventh annual Teacher of the Year banquet at the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church.

Anita Puckett received the honor and a check for $150 from Liberty State Bank, the sponsor of the banquet. The presentation was made by Director of Schools Mark Willoughby and Roy Nelson Pugh of Liberty State Bank.

Puckett was among five local educators who were recognized during the banquet for being chosen by peers as "Teacher of the Year" at their schools. The others were LeVaughnda Midgett, a kindergarten teacher at Smithville Elementary School; Kathryn Wisinger, an ESL(English as a Second Language) teacher at DeKalb Middle and DCHS grades 6-12; Elizabeth Nolt, a fourth grade educator at Northside Elementary School; and Tammy Payne, a sixth grade teacher at DeKalb West School.

Every year DeKalb County participates in the Tennessee Teacher of the Year program. Each school picks a Teacher of the Year from their school who is in the running for honors at the county and regional level. Teachers are selected in the categories of Pre-K through 4th grade, 5th through 8th grade, and 9th through 12th grade. The overall Teacher of the Year from DeKalb County is selected from among the five teachers of the year at the school level.

Principals and assistant principals introduced the Teachers of the Year at their schools and remarked on how they deserved the honor.

(Top Photo: Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, DeKalb Teacher of the Year Anita Puckett of DeKalb Middle School, Assistant DMS Principal Amanda Dakas, and Roy Nelson Pugh of Liberty State Bank)

(Bottom Photo: Smithville Elementary Principal Julie Vincent, SES Teacher of the Year LeVaughnda Midgett, DeKalb West Principal Danny Parkerson, DWS Teacher of the Year Tammy Payne, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, Northside Elementary Principal Gayle Redmon, Northside Teacher of the Year Elizabeth Nolt, Roy Nelson Pugh of Liberty State Bank, DCHS Teacher of the Year Kathryn Wisinger, DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps, DeKalb County Teacher of the Year and DeKalb Middle School Teacher of the Year Anita Puckett, and Assistant DMS Principal Amanda Dakas)

Voters to Decide Primary Races Tuesday

May 5, 2014
Dwayne Page
WJLE will have links on this website to election boxes such as this one for all races
Mike Foster
Tim Stribling
Mike Clayborn
James L. (Jimmy) Poss
Bratten H. Cook, II
Margie Rigsby Miller
Michael Agee
Larry Flair

Voters will choose party nominees for several county wide and district offices tomorrow (Tuesday, May 6) in the DeKalb County Democratic Primary as well as the Democratic and Republican Primaries for offices in the seven county 13th Judicial District which includes DeKalb County. Names of the winners will be on the ballot in the DeKalb County General Election on Thursday, August 7th.

"1606 is the current number of people who have already voted in this election through the early voting or absentee process. A few absentees may be in Tuesday's mail. One hundred twenty five of those are paper ballots," said Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley. A total of 1,531 have voted in the Democratic Primary and 75 have cast ballots in the Republican Primary.

Polls at all sixteen precincts in the county will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. Tuesday.

WJLE will have exclusive "LIVE" local election return coverage starting at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday night. Listen "LIVE" on AM 1480/FM 101.7 and "LIVE" streaming at www.wjle.com. WJLE has links to election boxes for each race under "COMMUNITY" on the left side near the top of the WJLE website homepage and in the LOCAL NEWS section with the election story. WJLE will update those boxes with returns in each race from each precinct as they come in Tuesday night. Be sure to refresh the page regularly during the night for the latest results. (CLICK THE LINKS TO THE ELECTION BOXES BELOW)




Voters must declare in which primary they intend to vote. For example, voters who declare their intentions to vote in the Democratic Primary cannot vote in the Republican primary for the 13th judicial district candidates. Likewise, voters who declare their intentions to vote in the Republican primary cannot vote for any democratic candidates in this election

The DeKalb County Democratic Primary will feature four contested county wide and five district county commission races.

County Mayor Mike Foster will be seeking his fourth term but will be challenged in the primary by Smithville Alderman Tim Stribling. The winner will face Republican nominee Chris Smithson and Independent Chris Bratcher, II in the August 7th County General Election.

Three term incumbent County Clerk Mike Clayborn will be looking for his fourth term. He faces a challenge from James L. (Jimmy) Poss.

Incumbent General Sessions/Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Hale "Butch" Cook, II is running for his third-eight year term. His primary opponent is local attorney Margie Rigsby Miller. The winner will meet Republican challenger Mingy Colwell Bryant in August. She is also a Smithville attorney.

In the race for Sheriff, Michael J. Agee and Larry Flair, Sr. will face off for the Democratic nomination. The winner will face two term Republican Incumbent Sheriff Patrick Ray in August.

James D. (Jimmy) Sprague is unopposed for the Democratic nomination for Road Supervisor but he will face Republican nominee Wallace M. (Butch) Agee in the August General Election. The winner will succeed six term incumbent Kenny Edge, who is not seeking re-election.

Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack and Register of Deeds Jeffrey McMillen, both incumbents, will be unopposed in the May Democratic Primary as well as in the August General Election. Pack is seeking her fourth term. McMillen is looking for his eighth term.

Democrats will not have a candidate for Trustee. Republican incumbent Sean Driver will be unopposed for this third term in the August General Election.

County commission Democratic Primary races on May 6th will be contested in the second, third, fourth, sixth, and seventh districts.

The candidates for the county commission in each district are as follows (Two will be Nominated/Elected from each District)

Bennett Armstrong and Elmer Ellis, Jr. are unopposed in the Democratic Primary. They will be the Democratic Nominees in the August General Election along with Republican Nominee Mason Carter (TWO TO BE ELECTED).

Jerry Hutchins, Jr., Clarence Trapp , Joe N. Johnson, and Frank D.Thomas are seeking the Democratic Nomination. The two Democratic nominees will run in the August General Election along with Republican Nominee Bobby Joines and Independent Candidate James "Jimmy" E. Midgett. (TWO TO BE ELECTED)

Bradley Scott Hendrix, Jerry D. Scott, and Jack E. Barton are seeking the Democratic Nomination. The two nominees will be running in August along with Independent Candidate Wesley Nokes. (TWO TO BE ELECTED)

Wayne Cantrell, David McDowell, Bobby R. Taylor, Jonathan Norris, and Anthony "Tony" Poss are seeking the Democratic Nomination. The two nominees will be unopposed in August (TWO TO BE ELECTED)

Anita Puckett and Rick Cantrell are unopposed in the Democratic Primary. They will be the Democratic Nominees in the August General Election along with Republican Nominee Jerry D. Adcock (TWO TO BE ELECTED).

Betty Jean Atnip, Jeff Barnes, and Marshall Ferrell are seeking the Democratic Nomination. The two nominees will be running in August along with Independent Candidate Danny McGinnis (TWO TO BE ELECTED)

Larry A. Summers, Kevin Robinson, and David Agee are seeking the Democratic Nomination. The two nominees will be unopposed in August. (TWO TO BE ELECTED)

Chad Curtis will be unopposed for the Democratic nomination. He will face the Republican nominee Lee Plummer in the August General Election

There is no Democratic candidate for constable in the second district. In August, Republican Chris Tramel will face Independents Tony D. Lawson and Jonathan Low

There is no Democratic candidate for constable in the third district. In August, Independent candidates Travis Bryant and Lou Ann Sanders will be in competition for the position.

GOP primary races will be contested in the 13th Judicial District on May 6th for the offices of District Attorney General, District Public Defender, and Circuit Court Judge, Part I. The 13th Judicial District is made up of Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, and White Counties.

Republicans Shawn Fry and Bryant Dunaway, both of Cookeville will be vying for the GOP nomination on May 6th for District Attorney General. The winner will face Tony Craighead of Cookeville in the August General Election. Craighead will be unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

In the race for Criminal Court Judge, Part I, Republicans Wesley Bray and Gary McKenzie, both of Cookeville will be seeking the GOP nomination on May 6th. The winner will take on William Fred Roberson, Jr. of Cookeville in August. Roberson is unopposed for the Democratic nomination on May 6th.

Craig P. Fickling and Edwin G. Sadler, both of Cookeville, and John Meadows of Sparta are in the race for the Republican nomination for District Public Defender on May 6th. The winner will try to unseat Democratic incumbent David N. Brady of Cookeville in August. Brady is unopposed in the primary on May 6th.

Others who are unopposed in their respective primaries on May 6th are as follows.

Circuit Court Judge, Part I:
Amy Hollars of Livingston, Democratic Incumbent

Circuit Court Judge, Part II:
Randy York of Crossville, Democrat
Jonathan Young of Cookeville, Republican

Criminal Court Judge, Part II
David A. Patterson of Cookeville, Republican Incumbent

Ronald Thurman of Cookeville, Democratic Incumbent
J. Lee Burgess of Cookeville, Republican

Winners of each primary will face off in the August General Election.

Smith Airlifted After Saturday Crash

May 4, 2014
Dwayne Page
1993 Chevy S-10 pickup truck driven by Doyle Smith
 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Heather Standridge
Life Force Helicopter lands at the scene of Saturday Wreck

A 91 year old Smithville man was injured in a traffic accident Saturday when another vehicle pulled out in front of him on Highway 70 east at Eastside Citgo.

Doyle Smith was treated at the scene by DeKalb EMS and then airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital by a Life Force helicopter ambulance which landed in the parking lot of Caney Fork Electric Cooperative.

Captain Steven Leffew of the Smithville Police Department told WJLE that Smith was west on East Broad Street in a 1993 Chevy S-10 pickup truck when a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee pulled out in front of him on Broadstreet from the parking lot of Eastside Citgo. The Jeep Grand Cherokee was driven by 23 year old Heather Standridge of Smithville. After impact, Standridge drove back through the parking lot of Eastside Citgo, crossed Smith Road, and ran into a ditch. She was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

According to Captain Leffew, Standridge has been cited for driving on a suspended license, violation of the registration law, violation of the financial responsibility law, and failure to yield.

Captain Leffew expressed his appreciation to members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department who assisted at the scene.

Prisoner in DeKalb Murder Case Could be Paroled Within a Year (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)

May 1, 2014
Dwayne Page
Melvin Eugene Turnbill at Thursdays Parole Hearing (Dwayne Page Photo)
Melvin Eugene Turnbill at Parole Hearing with his mother Glenda seated behind him (Dwayne Page photo)

A man serving a twenty five year prison sentence in a 2002 DeKalb County murder case could be a free man within a year.

After a hearing Thursday morning, Tim Gobble, a member of the Tennessee Board of Parole, voted to parole 42 year old Melvin Eugene Turnbill provided he successfully completes a nine to twelve month substance abuse program called "Therapeutic Community" while still in prison. The file now goes to the other parole board members, who will review it and cast their votes. Three matching votes are needed for a final decision in this case. The hearing was held at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex in Pikeville, where Turnbill is incarcerated. Gobble was not at the prison. He presided by video conference from another location.

WJLE was the only media represented at the prison covering Thursday's hearing.

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

Murphy 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 October 15, 2022. He has served eleven years and seven months of the term. This was Turnbill's second parole hearing. He was denied release two years ago following his last 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 have completed HVAC (training) which would be a good trade for me to get into. I just wish I could be given a second chance," said Turnbill

"What about your propensity for drug use? The meth, marijuana and maybe alcohol? That seems to be a real difficulty for you at least in the past. What are the chances in the future of you avoiding those substance abuse problems," asked Gobble.

"It's a real good chance for me to avoid them," responded Turnbill

"How do I know that?"asked Gobble.

"I don't know what to tell you to convince you except I know in myself. I've had plenty of opportunities to be around it (drugs) here (prison) and I've avoided it. I don't want it no where around me. I don't want it in my life. I know what it's cost me," said Turnbill.

If granted parole, Turnbill plans to live with his mother Glenda Turnbill in Smithville. "I have been here for him ever since he has been in prison. I have been here throughout his whole process. I think he has matured quite a bit. I'm really glad to see the progress that he has made as far as the turnaround of his attitude. His attitude has changed tremendously to what it had been before. I think he is ready to move on with his life and I think he could become a productive citizen of society," said Mrs. Turnbill who spoke at the parole hearing.

Carol Darrah, a friend of Mrs Turnbill, also spoke in favor of parole. "I don't really know Melvin but I know his mother really well. We go to church with her and she has talked to me about Melvin from time to time. I've been impressed with the programs that he has completed. I think that is commendable. I know he will have a good home to go to. She has told me that he has completed several series of Bible correspondence courses through our church. I think that is commendable. I would just like to say that I would like to see him get this second chance in life," said Darrah.

Classified as a minimum security prisoner, Turnbill's record while in prison reveals that he has had six institutional disciplines, but none since 2012. Turnbill was caught with marijuana in his possession three years ago and in a separate case the same year, Turnbill tested positive for marijuana use during a drug screen. Turnbill says he no longer has a drug problem.

While in prison, Turnbill said he has participated in or completed several rehabilitative programs including career and anger management, thinking for a change, and TRICOR, a program that provides occupational and life skills training for inmates through job training, program opportunities, and transitional services designed to assist offenders with a successful reintegration into society.

Turnbill, a user and producer of methamphetamine at the time of the murder, said it was never his intent for Murphy to be killed. He only meant to scare him into giving back the meth oil Murphy stole from him.

On Saturday, September 14, 2002, Turnbill claims he, his friend Robin Baker, and Murphy went to Back Bone Ridge to go camping which is near where the murder took place. He said Murphy brought along his camping tent and poles. According to Turnbill the main reason he wanted to go there was to finish cooking some meth he had started working on the day before. Later that night, the three of them went back to Baker’s residence.

Sometime during the night, Turnbill said he became upset with Murphy for smoking dope in front of everybody and acting disrespectfully. He said Murphy eventually left after being asked to leave because of his behavior. Orlando showed up and stayed the night.

Turnbill said the next morning he discovered a jar of meth oil was missing from his truck and suspected Murphy of stealing it. He then awoke Orlando and told him. "When I discovered it (meth oil) was gone I woke him (Orlando) and told him it was gone. When I told him it was gone, he said "come with me and I'll show you how to get your evens" (get even). We got in the car and he (Orlando) said he knew a couple of places where Josh would probably be. When he (Orlando) located him, I sat in the car and he (Orlando) went in and said he needed him (Murphy) to go buy him a bag of marijuana. He and Josh came back out to the car and went back over to Robin's (home). Over there, Chris asked him (Murphy) if he wanted to help us finish up this dope (meth) that Melvin started cooking the day before. He said yes. Chris said we'll go back to Backbone (Ridge). He (Orlando) asked us to meet him over there. Josh got in the truck with me and Chris left in his car. Me and Josh went to Backbone and waited for Chris. After Chris showed up, he (Orlando) said lets go over to another site (nearby). When we went to the other site, I asked Josh to set everything up on the tailgate (of the truck). He said okay. Chris then told me I've got the gun in the car (Turnbill's 12 gauge shotgun). Do you want me to do it or do you want to do it?"

"So Josh was lured to the campground basically for the intent of murdering him. Is that correct?," asked Gobble.

"No sir. The intent was to scare him and to get my stuff back. There was never no talk about killing, murder, or nothing like that. There was never no discussion of that. That never took place," Turnbill replied.

Turnbill said he took the shotgun from the car in an attempt to intimidate Murphy and then handed the weapon to Orlando who did the shooting. "I pulled the gun out and asked him (Murphy) where my stuff was. Chris said I've already got your stuff, it's over there (pointing to a location at the scene). He (Orlando) told Josh to go over there and get it. Josh was running around the truck. That's when Chris told me to give him the gun. I handed him the gun and he said go over there and get your stuff. Josh said I'm not going over there. Chris said yes you are going over there and getting that. We both started walking over there. I stopped and Josh kept going over there to pick up the jar (meth oil). When he (Murphy) took a couple more steps, that's when Chris started to shoot. When he shot, Josh turned around and knocked Chris down and took off running. Chris got up and kept shooting. When the shooting stopped, I went back over to my truck. Chris told me to go check him (Murphy) to see if he was dead. I told him no. I didn't bother to pack anything up. I just shut the tailgate and left," he said.

Turnbill then fled to Kentucky where he was found and arrested. Turnbill claims he had come to his senses and was on his way back home when he was apprehended with components of his meth lab still in the bed of his truck. " After I went to Owensboro, Kentucky and started to realize what all had transpired I started coming back to Tennessee. I'd lost (spent) all my money on the way back and that's when I was apprehended in Cave City, Kentucky (for having the meth lab in the truck)," said Turnbill.

Asked why he pled guilty in the case if he had nothing to do with the murder, Turnbill told Gobble "I was told it didn't matter if I'd shot him or not, I was just as guilty as the person who had done it because I was at the scene and I was involved in it," he said.

In announcing his decision, Gobble said he would only vote to parole Turnbill if he completes the Substance Abuse Therapeutic Community program. "Mr. Turnbill you have served 11-1/2 years. You are 42 years of age and it's time for you to grow up and take some responsibility and I think that you can. I am going to vote to parole you today on a condition that you complete successfully therapeutic community. I will set a parole date upon completion of therapeutic community and that could be a year from now depending upon its availability and whether you can get in there. But I think it's important because of your past drug history that you complete that program successfully. I think if you can do that, it will show me and the other board members that you have the potential to be successful in the free world. You have got to stay away from drugs and alcohol abuse and that is the only way I'm going to support letting you out (paroling you) is for you to get in that program which I think will be good for you. That's my vote, to parole you with a pre-condition of completing therapeutic community successfully. You must also have no more institutional (disciplinary) write ups. No more problems. No (drug) possessions. No policy violations," he said.

Gobble also added a post parole condition. "That you (Turnbill) get substance abuse treatment as assessed and a substance abuse aftercare program of your choice to participate in until completion even once out of prison. To me, that looks like that has been your problem. Your downfall is meth, marijuana, and alcohol abuse. If we can do something to help you avoid those I think you've got a potential to be successful in the free world and make something out of yourself from here on out. As someone has said, you are worth giving a second chance to see if you succeed. Once you are in the Therapeutic Community program, it will take nine to twelve months to complete it successfully. If you complete it and avoid any A or B disciplinary actions while incarcerated, then you will be released at that time. You will have met the pre-parole conditions. Otherwise, we will have to hear you again (another parole hearing). But you have the potential of being released in about a year with those successful preconditions, but there has to be three votes in agreement. You will know in one, two, or three weeks as to what the final vote of the board is,"Gobble concluded.

While no one showed up at Thursday's hearing to speak in opposition to Turnbill being parole, Gobble noted that " there is a petition opposing parole in the file".

Relay For Life Set for May 9th

April 30, 2014
Dwayne Page
Relay For Life Set for May 9th

From its remarkable yet humble beginnings, the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life has grown into a national, even international, phenomenon. Starting in 1985 with only one event, today more than 4 million people in over 20 countries raise much needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer through the Relay For Life movement.

At Relay for Life, you can find healing, comfort, and support from others who have faced cancer or who have lost a loved one to the disease. You have a chance to meet people in the community who are equally as passionate about finding an end to cancer in our lifetime. No matter why you take part in Relay, however, one thing is clear: with every step you take, you are helping the American Cancer Society save lives and "Finish the Fight".

Come share the Relay experience at Green Brook Park on Friday, May 9 and take pride in knowing that you are working to create a world where this disease will no longer threaten the lives of our loved ones or claim another year of anyone's life.

The 17th annual Relay for Life begins with musical entertainment at 5:00 p.m. followed by the opening ceremony at 6:00 p.m. featuring personal testimonies from cancer survivors and then a Survivors' Lap, during which those who have survived the struggle circle the track together to help everyone celebrate what has been achieved against cancer.

As the sun sets, Luminaria bags lining the track illuminate the night and then a hush falls over the event as Relay participants, survivors and caregivers gather together for a Luminaria Ceremony at 9:00 p.m. to remember loved ones lost to cancer and to honor those who have battled the disease.

As participants walk the track lined with Luminaria bags in reflection, a caregiver who has lost a loved one may find comfort from a fellow caregiver who has faced a similar loss.

Meanwhile, a survivor gains hope and strength from others who have followed the same journey and survived. All resolve to keep fighting to save more lives so no more Luminaria bear the names of those lost to the disease.

Teams take turns doing laps, but there must be one member from each team on the track at any given time during the relay event. There is a lot of fundraising as well, through concessions, games, and other activities.

As volunteers and donors, your efforts support research, education, advocacy, and services that allow the American Cancer Society to offer help and hope to people across the country when they need it most. By joining together at Relay, we celebrate life, friendship, and an opportunity to work to defeat cancer for future generations

This year's program lineup is as follows:

5:00 p.m.: Dessa Ray
5:25 p.m.: Wanda and Vonda (singing in honor of their mother Clata Redmon)
5:40 p.m.: Kathy Goodwin
5:55 p.m.:
Presentation of Colors by Boy Scout Troop #347
The National Anthem sing by Suzanne Slager
Invocation by Donnie Kelly, Pastor of the Smithville First Assembly of God
6:00 p.m.: Opening Ceremony
Welcome: Renea Cantrell
Introduction of Cancer Survivors
Prayer for Cancer Survivors by Wendell Judkins
Song Honoring Cancer Survivors by Shelly Cross and Bonnie Rigsby
6:45 p.m.: David Turner and Friends
7:15 p.m.: Tina Boston
7:30 p.m.: Fluty and the Flutones
7:45 p.m.: Suzanne Slager
8:00 p.m.: Kevin Roberts (Elvis)
8:15 p.m.: New Life Pentecostal
8:30 p.m.: Praise Group
8:45 p.m.: TBA
9:00 p.m.:
Luminaria Ceremony
Prayer by Dwayne Cornelius, Pastor of the New Life Pentecostal Church
9:15 p.m.: Church of God Receiving Ministries
9:30 p.m.: Smithville First Assembly of God Youth Group
9:45 p.m.: Elizabeth Chapel Singers
10:00 p.m.: Tom Duggin
10:30 p.m.: Pam Page Arts Ministry
11:30 p.m.: Closing Ceremony
Midnight: Relay Ends

Wendell Judkins and George Taylor will emcee the program. Sound provided by the New Life Pentecostal Church

Two Arrested After Police Find Stolen Credit Cards Valued at Over $15,000

April 29, 2014
Dwayne Page
Lorie Maclean
Craig Yarbrough

A suspected theft of approximately 175 credit cards valued at more than $15,000 and other Walmart merchandise has landed two persons in trouble with the law.

43 year old Lorie Maclean and 53 year old Craig Yarbrough both of McDonald, Tennessee are each charged with theft over $10,000. Maclean is also charged with theft of merchandise. Both are to appear in court on May 1. Maclean is under a $26,500 bond. Yarbrough's bond is $25,000.

The two were arrested by Smithville Police during a theft investigation on Thursday, April 24 at Wal-mart.

Chief Randy Caplinger and Corporal Travis Bryant told WJLE that Smithville Police were called to Walmart after a woman (Maclean) tried to leave the store with stolen merchandise. "She (Maclean) was caught trying to push items out of Walmart in a shopping cart. But when a loss prevention officer of the store tried to stop her, she abandoned the cart, ran to her pickup truck and drove away. She also left behind her boyfriend, Yarbrough, who was still inside the store," said Corporal Bryant.

After police were notified, Chief Caplinger, Corporal Bryant, and Lieutenant Matt Holmes responded and pulled over Maclean's truck at the intersection of Broad Street and Anthony Avenue. As Maclean was placed under arrest, officers noticed items inside her truck that aroused their suspicion. They executed a search warrant and found around 175 American Express prepaid credit cards totaling $15,525 that had apparently not been activated along with approximately $2,700 worth of other merchandise. Police suspect many of these items may have been stolen from various Walmart stores in Tennessee and in other states.

The case remains under investigation by Smithville Police as well as state and federal authorities.

20 year old Jessie Herman is charged with burglary and theft of property under $500. He will be in court on May 15. His bond totals $16,500. Chief Caplinger said that on Sunday, April 27 police were dispatched to NHC Healthcare Center concerning two cars that had been burglarized. After the incident, Herman was observed on foot in the area. Police were notified and confronted Herman on White Street. He was allegedly found with items taken from the vehicles and placed under arrest.

29 year old Travis Tramel is charged with driving under the influence. He was also cited for simple possession of a schedule IV drug (Xanax) and simple possession of a schedule IV drug (Valium). His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on May 22.

Chief Caplinger said that on Saturday, April 26 police were dispatched to the area of West Main Street for a possible drunk driver. An officer spotted the vehicle on Riley Avenue and pulled it over. The driver, Tramel had a light blue powdery residue in his nose. His speech was slurred and labored. He submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He had a metal pill container with seventeen and a half light blue pills believed to be Xanax, four light blue pills believed to be Valium and one light yellow pill also believed to be Valium. He did not have a prescription for the drugs.

25 year old Jessica Jenkins is cited for simple possession of a schedule II drug and she will be in court on May 22. Chief Caplinger said while assisting police on a recent traffic stop, another officer made contact with Jenkins who was found to have twenty five white pills in her purse thought to be methadone hydrochloride. The pills belonged to someone else.

Man Charged After Allegedly Firing Shot at His Brother

April 29, 2014
Dwayne Page
Jonathan Lewis

A Smithville man, accused of shooting at his brother during an argument, will be in court next month for aggravated assault.

35 year old Jonathan Lewis is under a $35,000 bond. His court date is set for May 22.

Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE that on Sunday, April 20 Police were called to investigate a report of two individuals shooting at each other at 627 Highland Street. When officers arrived, they discovered that Lewis had allegedly gotten into an argument with his brother and had fired a shot, though no one was injured. Lewis' brother left the residence before police got there. " When officers arrived they were advised by the neighbors that the shooter (Lewis) was still inside the house. The officers attempted to get the shooter to come out. He did finally come out of the front door and was taken into custody. When we received permission to search the residence a 45 caliber Glock pistol was found along with three empty rounds and two live rounds of ammunition," he said.

Although Lewis allegedly admitted to firing a weapon, he denied trying to shoot at his brother. " He (Lewis) said he came out the front door of his residence and fired the weapon. He said he was firing straight ahead. Lewis' brother got in a vehicle and took off," said Chief Caplinger.

60 year old Danny Petty is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court May 1. Chief Caplinger said police were dispatched to Oak Street on Friday, April 25 in response to a possible public intoxication. Upon arrival, the officer found a man, Petty, laying in a ditch. He was unable to stand and had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. He was placed under arrest.

33 year old Mark Young is charged with driving on a revoked license. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court May 1. Chief Caplinger said police responded to a wreck in the parking lot of Mapco Express on Friday, April 25. Upon arrival, police spoke with Young. He said he had been driving and had rear ended another vehicle. A computer check revealed his license were revoked for DUI on November 21, 2013. Young said he is currently on bond for the previous offense.

25 year old Dustin Hutchings is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court May 22. Chief Caplinger said police were dispatched to Star Manufacturing in response to an angry intoxicated employee. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with Hutchings in the parking lot. He was very unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. Hutchings was placed under arrest.

56 year old Howard Mayberry is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500. Chief Caplinger said an officer recently responded to a call of a blue Ford Mustang traveling east on Broad Street in the westbound lane. The officer spoke with witnesses who gave a description of the person driving the car. Police located the suspect (Mayberry) at a local bank. His speech was slurred and he was very unsteady on his feet. Mayberry submitted to a portable breath test which detected alcohol. He also submitted to a blood test. Mayberry was placed under arrest.

56 year old Forrest Byrd is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,000. Chief Caplinger said that on Thursday, April 24 a witness saw a man stumbling down the road behind Taco Bell. Police responded and at Oak Street observed a man getting up out of the ditch on the right side of the road. He had difficulty standing. The man (Byrd) had a strong odor of alcohol on his person and he was very unsteady on his feet. Byrd was placed under arrest.


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