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Smithville Police Arrest Suspect in McMinnville Armed Robbery

October 20, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Patricia Johnson East

A suspect in an armed robbery of the Cash and Dash in McMinnville was stopped by Smithville Police and taken into custody Tuesday afternoon.

Chief Randy Caplinger said 22 year old Patricia Johnson East of Cookeville was stopped on South Congress Boulevard near the Red Barn Produce location shortly after 4:00 p.m. Inside her vehicle, police found a semi-automatic pistol and cash. She has now been charged in Warren County with aggravated robbery and theft of property. East allegedly entered the Cash and Dash in McMinnville wearing a ball cap and eyeglasses armed with a pistol. She reportedly left with $600-$700 in cash.

According to Chief Caplinger, police received a BOLO or "Be on the lookout" for a white SUV being driven by a white female. A license plate number was given. The BOLO, received at 3:50 p.m., reported that a woman had "just robbed at gunpoint a Cash and Dash in McMinnville." The car was last seen traveling toward Smithville.

Chief Caplinger said Lieutenant Steven Leffew set up on South Congress Boulevard waiting for the vehicle and spotted it shortly after 4:00 p.m.

Lieutenant Leffew's report states " I set up on South Congress Boulevard at 4:09 p.m. and saw a white Pathfinder driven by a white female traveling northbound. As I got behind the vehicle, I confirmed the license plate number. I stopped the vehicle and approached it from the passenger side. I instructed the driver to place her hands on the roof of the car. I told the woman, Patricia Johnson East, that the McMinnville Police Department was requesting to talk to her and they were enroute. East became upset and started crying. I told her to calm down but to keep her hands where I could see them. I asked her if there were any weapons in the vehicle and she stated "no".

"Officer Matt Farmer arrived on the scene. He approached the vehicle from the passenger side. Officer Farmer asked her if he could look in the vehicle and she said "yes". Farmer ordered her to get out of the vehicle. He noticed a gun case on the passenger side floor board. Farmer also produced a pistol from the car. She was handcuffed and taken into custody for protection and she was read her rights. She gave a verbal consent to search her vehicle."

Chief Caplinger says McMinnville and Sparta detectives came to the scene and authorities from Cumberland County later arrived at the police department to question her about similar crimes in those counties. She was then taken to Warren County to be charged.

Before her arrest , Chief Caplinger said Smithville Police were called Tuesday to two locations in Smithville to check out a suspicious person, which could have been East.

Chief Caplinger said an officer was called to 3D Financial at 2:31 p.m. in reference to a panic alarm. Upon arrival an employee stated that they received an alert in reference to a white female, driving a white SUV who had committed an armed robbery in Cumberland County and Putnam County. Employees said a female driving a similar type vehicle came into the business (3D Financial) and she was acting suspiciously. The woman had left the business by the time police arrived.

The police department was called to Cash Express on a similar complaint, but again the suspect was gone by the time police arrived.

Chief Caplinger says surveillance video from the Cash Express and 3D Financial will be reviewed to see if East was the woman who came into those places of business.

Apartment Building and Parked Car Struck by Motorist Suffering from a Seizure

October 20, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Damage to Apartment Building (Siding Stripped Off After Accident)

A Smithville man, driving a pickup truck, apparently suffered a seizure as he pulled into the parking lot of Evans Manor Apartments Tuesday night. The truck struck a parked car and then ran into the side of one of the apartment buildings causing some damage.

Zackary Hale was treated at the scene by DeKalb EMS but did not have to be transported to the hospital. No one else was injured.

Sergeant Randy King of the Smithville Police Department reports that "On October 19th, I responded to an accident at 848 Foster Road. Upon arrival, I observed a black S-10 owned by Zackary Hale, resting against the wall of the Evans Manor Apartment complex. Paramedics at the scene advised me that the driver, Hale, had reportedly had a seizure. Neighbors in the complex also stated that they had observed the driver in the state of having a seizure at the time of the collision."

A car "parked and unoccupied in an undesignated parking lane was struck at the rear of the vehicle. The car received damage down the entire length as Hale's truck continued to travel in the direction of the apartment complex. The truck then struck the outside wall of apartment 113B, causing substantial structural damage. The Smithville Fire Department was forced to evacuate the apartment as a precaution."

(NOTE: The truck did NOT cause ALL the damage shown in the above photo. Some of the siding was stripped off after the accident)

Parole Hearing for Bounds Set for Thursday

October 18, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Gerald Wayne (J.B.) Bounds

63 year Gerald Wayne (J.B.) Bounds of McMinnville, who has spent nearly 30 years in prison for the fatal shooting of a DeKalb County man in 1981, is scheduled to have another parole hearing Thursday, October 21st at the Southeast Regional Correctional Facility in Pikeville where he is incarcerated.

Bounds is serving a life sentence for the first degree premeditated killing of 27 year old Sherman Wright, who was shot once in the head just outside the Odyssey Arcade on West Broad Street, across from the Dairy Queen. The incident occurred on the afternoon of February 2nd, 1981, allegedly over a gambling debt. The game room no longer exists. The building now serves as the location for the Discount Tobacco Outlet.

Bounds has been before members of the Tennessee Board of Pardons and Parole twice in recent years trying to gain an early release, but so far to no avail. Members of the Wright family and state prosecutors have always opposed it and plan to oppose it again this time.

Melissa McDonald, Communications Director for the Tennessee Board of Probation & Parole, said this will be the third parole review hearing for Bounds. He first became eligible for parole in 2002 (Initial parole eligibility is determined by the statute under which the offender was convicted) and was declined for seriousness of the offense. The Board reviewed his case again in 2005, and again denied him for seriousness of the offense.

A Board Member will hear this case Thursday, and at the end, he or she will cast a vote---either to parole or deny parole. After the hearing, the file will go to the other six Board Members, who will review the case and cast their votes. McDonald said " The voting continues until we reach four concurring votes (either to parole or to deny parole), which is what the law requires for a decision on this offense."

The factors Board Members consider in making parole decisions include the seriousness of the offense, the amount of time served, support and/or opposition to the parole, victim impact, any disciplinary issues the offender might have had while incarcerated, any programs the offender might have completed while incarcerated, etc.

If the offender is denied parole, the Board will set a date when they will consider the case again. They can set that time for anywhere from one to six years.

It generally takes 2-3 weeks to get a final decision in any case.

Mayor and Aldermen to Review Golf Course Proposals During Thursday Workshop

October 18, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

Facing a Saturday deadline, the Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen still seem unsettled on what to do about the Municipal Golf Course and Swimming Pool

Smithville Golf Management is giving up it's lease as of Saturday, October 23rd and no one has yet been selected by the city to either to lease or manage the operation.

Two weeks ago, the aldermen voted to seek written proposals from interested parties and last night (Monday night) two were offered. Thursday night, the mayor and aldermen will meet in a workshop at 7:00 p.m. to review the proposals from Farron Hendrix and Tony Poss and any others that might be presented.

Farron Hendrix of Smithville Golf Management, the current tenant, told the mayor and aldermen Monday night that his group would agree to assist the city in the continued management of the golf course during the transition under certain conditions.

Hendrix said those conditions are that: "The City of Smithville will purchase our equipment at an appraised value."

"The City of Smithville will pay two employees (chosen by Smithville Golf Management) an hourly wage of $10.00 each to run the clubhouse and maintain the golf course."

Smithville Golf Management will continue to oversee the course, maintain and repair the equipment (with the City purchasing any needed parts), and assist with course maintenance (aerating, mowing, seeding, etc.) until April 1st, 2011."

"Smithville Golf Management will submit to the City all green fees collected, and weekly time sheets of the employees."

"Currently, two employees are needed nine hours per day Monday through Friday, and ten hours per day Saturday and Sunday; however, as the weather changes, these weekly hours will decrease", said Hendrix.

Hendrix added "This proposal will allow the City to keep the Golf Course operational during the slower winter season, and will allow the City an extended amount of time to determine how to best manage the Golf Course."

Meanwhile, Tony Poss, doing business as Poss Lawncare, addressed the mayor and aldermen Monday night with his own proposal.

"My proposal has four options for the city to consider. Option 1: I agree to manage the golf course and swimming pool for the City of Smithville for all revenues under $94,000 to help pay for labor in the Pro-shop and golf course mowing labor from this $94,000. After $94,000 in gross sales, I will reimburse the city at a rate of 50% each month until my management term is terminated. The city will pay for all expenses of the pool, golf course, lifeguards, utilities, and all insurance costs. Repair or replace any defects in irrigation lines to the greens and tee boxes which includes pumps or any other issue that may arise. The city will pay for all Golf course equipment needed and expenses on the equipment while I'm overseeing the course. Any new equipment for the course or improvements will be approved by the city and myself before any purchases are made. This proposal is for 10 years and an optional 10 year extension. I will give the city a 60 day notice of any intent to void a contract at any time and in no way be obligated to this proposal if awarded under these terms. These terms can be discussed or altered in any way as long as both parties agree to the terms. If the city agrees to any proposal, the city also pays the attorney fees to make any one of these proposals legal."

"Option 2: I would retain all revenues under $71,000 to pay for three employees to run the Pro-Shop and keep the greens, golf course and swimming pool under supervision. This pro-shop is open seven days a week and a minimum of 12-14 hours per day. The city would pay all expenses and after the $71,000 is reached in gross sales, I would reimburse the city 50% of the sales after that. The city would furnish extra help to mow the golf course."

"Option 3: Pay me a salary of $71,000 to manage the course seven days a week, on average 119 hours per week during peak months and the city to supply needed help and equipment. The city would keep 80% of the revenues and I would receive 20%.'

"Option 4: have a workshop to see if an agreement can be reached."

Poss added " My main goal is to have a manicured golf course, respectful pro-shop, and a more up to date swimming pool. This is why I want to partner with the city to try and get grants to achieve this."

Mayor Taft Hendrixson said the city could not purchase equipment directly from Smithville Golf Management, because of the competitive bidding requirement. Alderman Aaron Meeks added that funds are not allocated in this year's budget for some of the suggestions offered up in these proposals.

The mayor said if no agreement is reached soon, the city may have to hire someone as a stand-in manager to keep the golf course maintained until the issue is settled.

Labyrinth to be Placed in Greenbrook Park

October 18, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mark Pafford and Betsy Driver

The Smithville Aldermen Monday night approved a request for a group to place a labyrinth in Greenbrook Park that the public may use for personal reflection and meditation.

A labyrinth provides a walking path which leads to the center of an intricate spiral design and back out again. The labyrinth is often used to facilitate prayer, meditation, and spiritual transformation.

Betsy Driver addressed the mayor and aldermen Monday night asking for approval to place the labyrinth in the park.. "A labyrinth is essentially a prayer circle. It's a place where somebody can go to and take fifteen, thirty minutes, or an hour out of their day and seek an answer to maybe whatever it is they're looking for. To take time out and walk a path. When you start in that path, it goes around a large circle and then it intertwines back and forth until you meet in the center and then from that point, you walk back out of it in the same direction you came in. When we begin this project, we intend to include groups from the county locally to help get this project off the ground. We hope that whether it's the suicide awareness groups, people who would be from the cancer walk group, they could use it during their time there by placing candles perhaps in remembrance of those who have passed on."

Mark Pafford, a local minister who also supports the project, said a labyrinth can also be therapeutic. "It would be large enough to have a walking path in that spiral pattern. I have worked with many groups who use a labyrinth in a therapeutic setting. As a chaplain resident at the V.A., I used it with the V.A. patients and substance abuse patients at the V.A. in Murfreesboro to great benefit as well as behavioral health patients and geriatric patients to assist them. It's not only a therapeutic thing but it's a prayer space. A place for reflection and a place to retreat. Greenbrook Park offers a wonderful setting and venue for this piece. I think it would be a wonderful addition to that public space there."

Driver added that the city would not have to maintain it. "There will be no maintenance to it. We will be the ones to maintain it. Outside the actual labyrinth itself, we've given about seven feet of area that will be a garden that we'll plant just a few trees, evergreens, and ornamental trees and that space would be very easy for our maintenance crew to literally circle around. They'll not have to enter that space at all."

Driver said the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club, who oversee activities in Greenbrook Park, has given it's blessing for the labyrinth.

Again, the aldermen approved the request but city officials want some input on where it is to be located in the park.

In other business, the aldermen voted to dip into the general fund surplus again by increasing it's annual contribution to the Chamber of Commerce.

The city annually budgets $5,000 for the chamber but Chamber Director Suzanne Williams says the chamber needs a little extra money to help them get by and asked for an additional $5,000 per year. "The Chamber struggles every year (financially). We've got a bare bones budget. We don't have an extravagant amount of money we spend on anything. It's mostly for utilities and rent. We don't have high salaries. I have a part time secretary. This year has been particularly difficult because of the economic downturn and other things. At one point, I didn't know how we were going to get through the end of October."

" I spoke to the county commission to let them know our situation. As I told them outside of our fundraisers and our membership, we still need an extra $30,000 just to make our budget. The county commission voted to increase their annual funding from $10,000 to $20,000 and they asked that I come and speak to the city and see if you would increase yours from $5,000 to $10,000.'

"Out of the fourteen Upper Cumberland counties, we have the third highest tourism dollars. We bring in like $35 million in tourism dollars and we're one of the lowest funded chambers in the region. We know that Smithville does benefit significantly from tourism dollars and I hope that you would see the many benefits the chamber brings and provides for the city. I think if you had to open your own welcome center, just hiring one employee would probably be $20,000 not to mention all the other things that's involved with that. But I would ask that you consider amending your budget and adding an extra $5,000 to your annual contribution to the chamber."

The budget year for the chamber of commerce runs from January to December and the fiscal year for the city is from July 1st , 2010 to June 30th, 2011. Alderman Steve White made a motion to amend the budget and add $2,500 to the line item for the chamber this budget year making their total appropriation $7,500 for the fiscal year through June 30th, 2011 and then budget a total of $10,000 in next year's budget, which begins July 1st, 2011. The motion was adopted unanimously.

City employee Jimmy Taylor asked the mayor and aldermen if he could donate five of his sick days to a co-worker whose wife is in the hospital with a serious illness. Taylor says this employee has exhausted his own sick days and needs to be with his wife. The aldermen approved the request, provided it is legal for the city to do so. Officials will check with the city's financial consultant Janice Plemmons-Jackson and possibly the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) to make sure.

Hardcastle Gets Eight Year Sentence in Alexandria Aggravated Burglary and Robbery

October 16, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Debralee Hardcastle

A 30 year old woman, charged on August 23rd, 2009 in an early Sunday morning assault on her 95 year old landlord at the residence they shared at 309 West Main Street in Alexandria, received an eight year sentence in Criminal Court Friday.

Debralee Hardcastle pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated robbery and one count of aggravated burglary. She received an eight year sentence to serve in the robbery case and three years to serve in the burglary. The two sentences are to run concurrently as one eight year term and concurrently with a Wilson County violation of probation against her.

Hardcastle was given jail credit for time served from August 23rd, 2009 to October 15th, 2010.

Chief Mark Collins of the Alexandria Police Department, on August 23rd, 2009, said Hardcastle was charged with especially aggravated burglary, especially aggravated robbery, and especially aggravated assault in the attack on Lilae Belle Gilliam. Hardcastle was also charged at the time with theft under $500 in a separate case.

According to Chief Collins, Gilliam, who lived alone, rented a portion of her home to Hardcastle and another woman less than a month before this incident occurred. They apparently moved here from Wilson County. Both dwellings in the Gilliam home were under the same roof but had separate entrances.

Chief Collins said Hardcastle, in order to alter her appearance, dressed disguised as a man and then left her room around 3:15 a.m. He said she went outside, went around the house, and knocked on Mrs. Gilliam's side door. When Mrs. Gilliam answered the door, Hardcastle, holding a 14 inch knife, forced her way inside and demanded the elderly woman's medication. Mrs. Gilliam, who apparently did not recognize Hardcastle, resisted and tried to defend herself. Though she fought off the attack, Gilliam suffered lacerations and bruises from blows to her head and upper body.

After the assault, Hardcastle returned to her room, taking three bottles of medication from Gilliam's residence. Mrs. Gilliam, bleeding from the attack, dropped to her hands and knees, crawled to the foyer near the door and began screaming for help.

Apparently in an attempt to avoid arousing suspicion as to her involvement, Hardcastle removed her disguise, changed her clothes, cleaned up and went back to assist Mrs. Gilliam and called 911.

Gilliam was transported by DeKalb EMS to UMC Medical Center in Lebanon where she was treated and released.

Chief Collins said after interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence at the scene, Hardcastle was identified as a suspect.. She was picked up for questioning, but she refused to cooperate or give a statement. She was subsequently charged in the case.

The case was investigated by the Alexandria Police Department in cooperation with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Former Circuit Court Clerk Bookkeeper Gets Pre-Trial Diversion

October 16, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Tonya Page

A former bookkeeper at the DeKalb County Circuit Court Clerk's Office, charged with theft of property over $1,000, appeared in Criminal Court Friday where she was granted pre-trial diversion under a memorandum of understanding.

Under terms of the agreement, Tonya D. Page will be on supervised probation by the Tennessee Board of Pardons and Parole for a period of two years and she must make restitution of $8,501 and pay court costs in the case within ninety days. At the end of the two years, if Page has complied with the conditions set out in this pre-trial diversion agreement, then the case is to be dismissed.

This memorandum of understanding, approved by Judge Leon Burns, Jr., was agreed to by and between the Assistant District Attorney General for DeKalb County, the defendant Page and her attorney Adam Parrish.

Page was charged in a grand jury sealed indictment in August, 2009.

The charge stemmed from a TBI investigation into a cash shortage of $8,501 in General Sessions Court funds, which was discovered during an annual state audit.

Page was initially hired as a clerk in the office four years ago and then as bookkeeper. She was later terminated from her employment there, after this incident arose.

The case against Page was presented to the Grand Jury by the TBI.

Two Arrested for Vandalism, Disorderly Conduct, and Resisting Arrest

October 16, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police checking out a reported attempted break-in on Sunday, October 10th arrested two people on other charges

27 year old Elizabeth Rochelle Bradshaw and 34 year old Royce Duane McCrary both of Miller Road were picked up by Sergeant Randy King for vandalism, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Sergeant King and Officer James Cornelius responded to 530 Miller Road where someone was allegedly trying to break into a residence. Upon their arrival they made contact with Bradshaw and McCrary. Both were identified as the persons attempting to break in. Bradshaw appeared to be intoxicated and she began screaming at the victim causing alarm. While attempting to handcuff Bradshaw, she began resisting and trying to pull away. Bradshaw was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. After placing McCrary in the back of the patrol car, he began kicking the side rear window pushing it off the track. Bond for Bradshaw is $5,000. McCrary's bond is $2,500. They will appear in court on October 21st.

33 year old Jason Lucio Galvan of Short Mountain Highway was cited by Officer James Cornelius on Saturday, October 9th for violation of the open container law. Galvan was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped for a traffic violation. Galvan had an open beer in his possession. His court date is November 2nd.

21 year old Wesley Shane Garner of Thompson Station was arrested by Sergeant Randy King on Saturday, October 9th for a second offense of driving on a revoked license. Sergeant King stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation and upon making contact with the driver, Garner, and asking for his license, Sergeant King found them to be revoked. Bond for Garner is $2000 and his court date is December 2nd.

Lieutenant Steven Leffew investigated an accident with injury on Saturday, October 9th. The mishap occurred on Highway 56 north and Church Street. 30 year old Robert L Sartin of Sparta was southbound on Highway 56 in a 1995 Nissan Quest van when the vehicle left the road and struck a utility pole. Sartin told police that he had worked the third shift and fell asleep while driving. Sartin was transported by EMS to the emergency room at DeKalb Community Hospital and was cited for driving on a suspended license and violation of the financial responsibility law.

56 year old Judy Faye Barrett of Christiana was arrested on Sunday, October 10th for DUI. Officer James Cornelius was dispatched to West Broad Street to check on a vehicle driven by a female who appeared to be very confused. Upon making contact with Barrett, Officer Cornelius observed that her speech was slurred and she was unsteady on her feet. Bond for Barrett is $1500 and her court date is November 18th.

41 year old John Michael Turner of AB Frasier Road was arrested on Monday, October 11th for public intoxication. K-9 Officer Brad Tatrow responded to West Broad Street on an upset customer complaint. Upon arrival he found Turner to have a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Bond for Turner is $1000 and his court date is October 28th.

28 year old Josue Alberto Torres of Blue Springs Road was arrested on Friday, October 15th for driving on a suspended driver license. Officer James Cornelius stopped a vehicle driven by Torres for failure to make a complete stop at a four way stop. Upon making contact with Torres, Officer Cornelius discovered through central dispatch that his license were suspended. Bond for Torres is $1000 and his court date is November 18th.

Any information received that will help the Smithville Police Department solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential

If you have information contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Service Restored for DUD Customers Affected by Broken Water Line

October 16, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

Water will soon start flowing again for customers of the DeKalb Utility District who have been without water for the last day or two.

DUD officials say work was completed late Friday night to a main line break which was discovered Thursday on Highway 70 at the top of Snow Hill across from DeKalb Market.

Service should be restored Saturday morning for customers in the area. It may also take a little while for water pressure to build back for some customers.

Officials say because the line was buried so deep in the ground, it was difficult to reach. Digging operations began shortly after the break was discovered Thursday. DUD workers and other local contractors worked late in the night Thursday and early Friday morning. More digging equipment and manpower were brought in Friday to join in the effort to locate the line.

Smithville Home Heavily Damaged by Fire

October 15, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Home of Reba Scott Heavily Damaged by Fire
Home of Reba Scott on Forrest Avenue

A fire Thursday night caused extensive damage to the home of Reba Scott at 1004 Forrest Avenue, Smithville.

Central dispatch received the call at 7:42 p.m.

Captain Jeff Wright of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department says Ms. Scott left the house a few minutes before 7:00 p.m. and the fire was already in progress when she returned. A neighbor apparently reported it.

The blaze could be seen coming through the roof as firefighters worked to bring it under control.

Captain Wright says the fire appeared to have originated from the kitchen area of the home but the exact cause has not been determined. Most of the homes contents were either damaged or destroyed in the fire

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