Local News Articles

Local Man Indicted After Undercover Drug Investigation by Alexandria Police Department

November 29, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Gary Ray Ashford
Rhonda Murphy
Eric Wayne Tramel
Jason Kyle Shepard

An Alexandria man has been indicted by the Grand Jury on drug charges as a result of an undercover investigation by the Alexandria Police Department.

Chief Mark Collins said that on Tuesday, November 27 Alexandria Police arrested 35 year old Gary Ray Ashford of Goodner Lane, Alexandria for Sale and Delivery of a Schedule IV controlled substance in a drug free zone .

According to Chief Collins, Alexandria Police made a controlled drug purchase of Alprazolam pills from Ashford after receiving complaints about illegal activities at Ashford's residence on Goodner Lane, which is near the city park and a church daycare in a drug free zone.

The case, investigated by Chief Collins and Sergeant Chris Russell, was presented to the DeKalb County Grand Jury on Monday, November 26. A sealed indictment was returned by the grand jury later that day. Ashford will be in court on December 10. His bond is $10,000.

Meanwhile, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has arrested two people named in Grand Jury sealed indictments in a September burglary and theft case. One other person has also been arrested on a state warrant as a result of the investigation.

30 year old Rhonda Murphy and 27 year old Eric Wayne Tramel, both of Smithville, are co-indicted on charges of aggravated burglary, theft over $1,000, and fraudulent use of a credit card. Bond for each is $30,000 and they will be arraigned in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, December 10

Murphy's boyfriend, 23 year old Jason Kyle Shepard of Dowelltown is charged on a state warrant for fraudulent use of a credit card. He will be in General Sessions Court on December 13. His bond is $5,000.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that Murphy, Tramel, and Shepard are accused of using a credit card, taken from the home of a person on the Old Blue Springs Road that Murphy had been caring for. According to Sheriff Ray, while at the residence of the person she was caring for on September 28, Murphy left a window unlocked to allow Tramel to enter and steal some items from the residence. Tramel allegedly stole two laptop computers, valued at $2,000 along with assorted jewelry, valued at $3,000. Sheriff Ray said the three defendants participated in using the stolen credit card over a three month period to purchase an assortment of items.

Crash Victim Dies at Vanderbilt Hospital

November 29, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Crash Victim Dies at Vanderbilt Hospital

An elderly woman involved in a one car crash Wednesday afternoon on Highway 146 (Short Mountain Highway has died.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol confirms that 72 year old Martha J. Thomason of Short Mountain Highway, Woodbury passed away at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The body will be at Woodbury Funeral Home. Arrangements have not yet been set.

The accident occurred on Highway 146 between the Game Ridge and Whorton Springs Roads.

Central dispatch received the call Wednesday at 1:29 p.m.

Trooper Jeremy Wilhite of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Thomason was driving south on Highway 146 in a 2004 Honda CRV when she went off the right side of the road, struck an earthen embankment, and overturned in a field. The car came to rest upright on its wheels.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Rescue Team were summoned to perform extrication in order to get Thomason out of the car. She was treated on site by DeKalb EMS and then loaded onto an Air Evac helicopter ambulance which landed at the scene. Thomason was flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

Others on site were members of the Short Mountain Highway Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

TBI Issues News Release On DeKalb County Double Murder Case

November 29, 2012
David Dixon
Ervin Raymon Beacham
Jose Sagahon Ticante

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has issued its own news release concerning the first degree murder indictments returned this week by the DeKalb County Grand Jury against David Dixon in the August double murder of Ervin Raymon Beacham and Jose Sagahon Ticante

The release states as follows:

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation presented a double homicide case to the DeKalb County grand jury earlier this week (Monday, November 26) which resulted in an indictment against a McMinnville man.

David Dixon, 44, of Hardaway Street, McMinnville was charged with two counts of first degree murder for the August 2012 shooting deaths of two Smithville men. On August 7, 2012, the Smithville Police Department responded to 311 Tommy Harrell Street and discovered the residence's owner 55-year-old Ervin Beacham shot to death on the couch in his home. A second victim, 43-year-old Jose Sagahon Ticante was also found murdered and his body hidden under a tarp and some lumber in the backyard of the residence. TBI investigated the murders with the Smithville Police Department, DeKalb County Sheriff's Office and the 13th Judicial District Attorney General's Office.

Dixon was picked up after the murders on August 7 and has been incarcerated at the DeKalb County Jail without bond since for violation of probation and for failure to appear. His bond on the murder charges is set at $200,000. He is scheduled to appear in DeKalb County Criminal Court on December 10, 2012.

Dixon has a lengthy criminal history here including charges for possesson of a handgun while under the influence, manufacture and delivery of a schedule IV controlled substance, assault, public intoxication, violation of an order of protection, aggravated assault, theft, domestic asault, and simple possession.

Christmas on the Square is Tonight

November 29, 2012
Community Chorus to Perform at Christmas on the Square

The Christmas season is nearly upon us which means it's almost time to celebrate Christmas on the Square & The Downtown Renovation Celebration! This holiday event will be celebrated on Thursday, November 29th from 5 PM to 8 PM on the Smithville Public Square.

The Community Chorus will sing from 5:00 to 5:25 PM on the west side of the Courthouse. Boy Scout Troop #347 will have a Flag-Raising Ceremony at 5:25 PM. Then more music from the Community Chorus after the Tree Lighting. "We've prepared secular music, "White Christmas","Silver Bells", "Christmas in Dixie", and those kinds of things setting the small town, home town stage for Christmas," said Fay Fuqua, Director of the Community Chorus. "There will also be traditional carols as we light the tree. We've ordered 250 candles. Hopefully the wind will cooperate. They (candles) have little drippers. So the chorus will be lighting candles and we'll be passing some out for those who have gathered. Then there will be a segment for children. Its going to work perfect together around the tree," she said.

Tree Lighting Ceremony – Held at 5:30 PM on the west side of the Courthouse.

Courthouse Open House – Stop by to visit & enjoy the refreshments & festive atmosphere. Come by and visit the new Chamber office in the Courthouse, Room 201.

A FREE Photo Booth & Christmas DJ Music will be provided by the City of Smithville – Enjoy your favorite holiday music throughout the night plus have a fun, complimentary picture made at the Cosmo Creations Photo Booth located inside the east entrance of the Courthouse.

Downtown Renovation Celebration – Enjoy a walk around town to see all the new improvements to the downtown buildings, inside and out, as well as seeing the progress of the new Open-Air Stage at Evins Park across from the Smithville Post Office.

At the Justin-Potter Library, Children's Book Author & Illustrator, Shan Burklow, will entertain & read to the children from 6 to 6:30 PM with a chance to win lots of great prizes. And the library will have a special visit from Santa immediately after, so don't forget to bring your camera!

Inflatables & Train Rides for the Children, if weather permits.

There will be extended hours and Open Houses at several downtown stores, offices, and restaurants. This is a wonderful time for Christmas shopping and having a nice meal downtown.

Chamber Executive Director Suzanne Williams would like to invite everyone to this enjoyable and heartwarming experience – Christmas on the Square & the Downtown Renovation Celebration! For more information, call the Chamber office at 597-4163.

Smithville Police Records Clerk Beth Adcock Honored for Five Years of Service

November 28, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Smithville Police Records Clerk Beth Adcock Honored for Five Years of Service

Records Clerk Beth Adcock has been presented a certificate of achievement in recognition of five years of dedicated service with the Smithville Police Department.

Adcock received the award from Chief Randy Caplinger on Tuesday at city hall

Others on hand for the observance were Mayor Jimmy Poss and Alderman/Police Commissioner Shawn Jacobs along with members of the police department

Adcock oversees the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (T.I.B.E.R.S.) for the police department; volunteers and helps coordinate police and community involved programs such as the Smithville Police Department's Crime Stoppers, Halloween on the Square, and Christmas for Kids.

She holds an associate degree in Business Management.

Prior to joining the Smithville Police Department, Adcock worked as a child support case worker and was later promoted to Child Support Administrator at the District Attorney's Office in Warren County.

Chief Caplinger said the department plans to make it a practice of honoring other members of the department for specific years of service.

(Pictured left to right: Chief Randy Caplinger, Records Clerk Beth Adcock, Alderman/ Police Commissioner Shawn Jacobs, and Mayor Jimmy Poss)

Elderly Woman Airlifted After One Car Rollover on Highway 146

November 28, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Elderly Woman Airlifted After One Car Rollover on Highway 146
Car Comes to Rest 65 Feet off Highway 146
Air Evac helicopter ambulance lands at the crash scene

An elderly woman was airlifted after a one car crash Wednesday afternoon on Highway 146 (Short Mountain Highway) between the Game Ridge and Whorton Springs Roads.

Central dispatch received the call at 1:29 p.m.

Trooper Jeremy Wilhite of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 72 year old Martha Thomason of 8591 Short Mountain Highway, Woodbury was driving south on Highway 146 in a 2004 Honda CRV when she went off the right side of the road, struck an earthen embankment, and overturned in a field. The car came to rest upright on its wheels.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Rescue Team were summoned to perform extrication in order to get Thomason out of the car. She was treated on site by DeKalb EMS and then loaded onto an Air Evac helicopter ambulance which landed at the scene. Thomason was flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

Others on site were members of the Short Mountain Highway Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Lighthouse Christian Camp to Host Christmas Party for Needy Children

November 28, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Lighthouse Christian Camp to Host Christmas Party for Needy Children
Children Get to Shop for Christmas Gifts

Each year, the Lighthouse Christian Camp provides weeks of summer camp to disadvantaged and needy children. Through the camp, children, who never otherwise would have the opportunity, get to experience the beauty of God's creation in a new and meaningful way, free of charge.

"Our mission and ministry at the Lighthouse Christian Camp is to find and seek out children that are poor and needy, abandoned, abused," said Camp Director Fran Tyson. "We cover about fifteen counties working with churches, school counselors and coordinators in those areas, who help us identify those children. We then bring them to camp for a week during the summer for free. The camp is completely supported by people who just donate and sponsor these children," she said.

In December, those same children are brought back to the camp by buses, vans, or cars for a Christmas party where they hear the biblical truth and meaning of Christmas, eat lunch, drink hot cocoa, and sing Christmas carols. "This Saturday, December 1 and next Saturday, December 8 we'll have our Christmas parties for the children that have come to camp at Lighthouse Christian Camp," said Tyson. "The children are picked up at different locations in the middle Tennessee area. We have drivers from different churches and buses that pick them up and bring them to camp," she said.

Additionally, children experience the joy of giving to others when they are given "Lighthouse Christmas Money" and are allowed to purchase wonderful gifts for their families and themselves. These children leave with enormous bags full of gifts and hearts full of the love they've received from hundreds of volunteers and staff. For many, this is the only Christmas they will have or know. "We have a huge Christmas store set up in the gym. The children come in and we put them on a team with counselors," said Tyson. "They'll get to shop in our Christmas store in the gym with Lighthouse play money to buy gifts for their families. They get to hear the Christmas story. We feed them lunch at the dining hall. They'll get hot chocolate and spend the day. The first Saturday of December is the girl's party and the second Saturday in December is the boy's party. But the only children who are eligible to come to the parties are those children who have already been to our camps. Its only for the children who have been to missions camp or discipleship camp and who have been invited back to shop," said Tyson.

The public may support the effort by donating gifts to ensure that there are plenty of presents to go around for all the kids who come to the Christmas party. "We're looking for gifts where a child can come in and buy (with Lighthouse play money) a gift for their baby brother, baby sister, a sibling, a mom or dad, or a grandmother or grandfather," said Tyson. "We're looking for gifts like gloves, scarves, hats, shirts, watches, toys, or anything that would benefit us to provide for these kids. They (public) can bring gifts to the Lighthouse Camp at the gym and drop them off there. We also have a drop off point at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in downtown Smithville," she said.

Lighthouse Christian Camp also is getting some valuable assistance in preparing for the Christmas party from the Faith in Action mission team. "Faith In Action is a mission team from Wisconsin and Minnesota and they drive down every year after Thanksgiving and spend the whole week with us," said Tyson. " They help us set up our gym store. They work constantly making gift baskets. They just help us get ready for the Christmas party. I really don't know if we could do the party without this team coming in. They've brought about thirty people this year. It's just an amazing blessing to us at Lighthouse Christian Camp to have them come down and help us," she said.

If you would like to donate to or help with the Christmas party, call the camp office at (615) 597-1264 or visit www.lighthousechristiancamp.com.

David Dixon Indicted in Double Murder

November 27, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
David Dixon
Ervin Raymon Beacham
Jose Sagahon Ticante

First degree murder indictments were returned by the Grand Jury Monday, November 26 against a McMinnville man in the fatal shooting of two Smithville men in August.

44 year old David Howard Dixon of Hardaway Street, McMinnville was named in a sealed indictment charging him with two counts of first degree murder in the deaths of 55 year old Ervin Raymon Beacham and Jose Sagahon Ticante. Dixon is under a $200,000 bond and he will appear for arraignment in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, December 10

The case against Dixon was presented to the grand jury by Dan Friel of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

Dixon was picked up after the murders on August 7 and has been incarcerated at the DeKalb County Jail without bond since for violation of probation and for failure to appear.

Beacham was found dead in his Tommy Harrell Street home Tuesday afternoon, August 7 . The body of Ticante was reportedly found beneath a pile of debris in the back yard of the residence. Both men had apparently been shot.

Neither the TBI nor Smithville Police have disclosed any details of the case since the day of the murders.

Five Indicted in Recent Child Sex Crimes

November 27, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Paul D. Gilliam
Bryan Thomas Thompson
Stephen M. Rogers, Jr
Donna Smith
Bryan Smith

The DeKalb County Grand Jury returned indictments Monday, November 26 against five people in recent child sex crimes.

18 year old Paul D. Gilliam is indicted for statutory rape of a 14 year old girl. Sheriff Patrick Ray said at the time of his arrest that Gilliam is alleged to have had sexual intercourse on four or five occasions with a 14 year old female at her home on Dale Ridge Road and with her consent. The offense allegedly occurred on May 30. The case was referred to the sheriff's department and investigated by criminal detectives. Gilliam was arrested on July 11 and brought to the jail.

19 year old Bryan Thomas Thompson was indicted for statutory rape of a 13 year old girl. Sheriff Ray said the case against Thompson was investigated by criminal detectives of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

According to Sheriff Ray, the child's mother, 48 year old Edna Jeanette Cox allowed Thompson to move into her home and to stay in the same room with her daughter, knowing that he and the young girl were having sex.

Sheriff Ray said that Thompson admitted to having engaged in sexual intercourse with the 13 year old girl on several occasions beginning June 30 and knew that it was wrong. Cox was originally charged with child endangerment. Her case has not yet gone before the grand jury. She will appear in General Sessions Court on the charge December 20.

21 year old Stephen M. Rogers, Jr has been indicted with the statutory rape of a fifteen year old and the girl's parents, 45 year old Donna Smith and 33 year old Bryan Smith have been indicted for child neglect, allowing their daughter to engage in sexual activity with this man, even providing them condoms

The warrant against Rogers states that "on Friday, May 11 at a residence in Smithville, Rogers did have sexual intercourse with a fifteen year old female while living with her the previous four months".

The warrant against Donna Smith, the mother of the girl, states that she " did knowingly approve of the daughter's sexual intercourse with a 21 year old male, Michael Rogers. This has been happening for the previous four months and on several occasions. Also the parents furnished condoms to the subjects and allowed them to live together".

The warrant against Bryan Smith, the father of the girl, states that he "did knowingly approve of his daughter's sexual intercourse with a 21 year old male, Michael Rogers. He has known of this going on for the previous four months and on several occasions has furnished them with condoms and allowed them to live together knowing that this was going on in the residence."

The case was investigated by the Department of Children Services and detectives and officers of the Smithville Police Department.

Gilliam, Thompson, Rogers, and Donna and Bryan Smith will appear for arraignment in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, December 10.

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