Local News Articles

Dry County Not So Dry Anymore

October 25, 2011
Dwayne Page
Several businesses in DeKalb County selling liquor by the drink

DeKalb County is a dry county as far as the sale of liquor is concerned.

Even so, several local restaurants are selling liquor and have been for some time, thanks to the state legislature and the "Premier Tourist Resort" act.

Premier Resort Status can be granted by the state to allow the sale of liquor in specific locations regardless of local restrictions.

Business owners, under certain conditions, can qualify to apply for a liquor license with passage of an amendment making them eligible to sell liquor by the drink under the state's "Premier Tourist Resort Act". Once businesses have that authority from the state, they may apply for a liquor license from the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission. If approved, the license is renewable annually.

The DeKalb County Beer Board, which grants local beer licenses, has no authority over the issuance of liquor licenses by the state.

DeKalb County businesses who currently sell liquor by the drink are the Inn at Evins Mill, the Blue Water Grille at Hurricane Marina, the Fish Lipz restaurant at Pates Ford Marina, and the Company Store near Cove Hollow.

Others who have the authority to apply are Maggie's Landing on Highway 70 at Snow Hill and the restaurant at Sligo Marina

William Cochran, owner of the Inn at Evins Mill, said his establishment first obtained a license to sell beer from the DeKalb County Beer board several years ago and he later decided to seek authority from the state to receive a liquor license. Cochran said he first had to hire a lobbyist to get a bill introduced and passed in the legislature amending the Premier Resort Act giving him the authority to sell liquor ." Unless you are a certified lobbyist yourself, you have to pay someone to lobby on your behalf to make that happen (get legislation passed for authority to apply for a liquor license in a dry county). The lobbyists in this day and time have to work pretty hard to make that happen. We got it (liquor license) in 2007. That year we started to sell wine and I think in 2008 we began to sell mixed drinks. We kind of rolled it out incrementally. We've been selling beer probably ever since we opened back in 1994 so that hasn't changed at all with this permit to sell wine and spirits,' said Cochran.

Although the investment to obtain a liquor license could be viewed as substantial, Cochran said it has been rewarding for his business. "It is an investment that is measured in tens of thousands of dollars rather than just thousands of dollars.. It is an investment that more than pays for itself in the first year. It has been a very important development for us in terms of guest satisfaction and in terms of growing our own revenues and I think the kind of place like we have that caters to the kinds of guests we cater to is the perfect thing. I know there are some people who might be opposed to it but you couldn't have a more insulated, safer, or better environment for the consumption of wines and sprits than a place like ours. You do need to be a guest of the Inn in some capacity to enjoy drinks from our bar, whether that is a dinner guest, an overnight guest, or a guest at a wedding reception or a corporate retreat. We're not the kind of place like a bar where you just show up and saddle up to the bar and order something," said Cochran.

Chief Green Responds to Controversy over Fire at Residence on Lower Helton Road

October 25, 2011
Dwayne Page
Chief Donny Green
Residence of Helen Edwards at 168 Lower Helton Road

A fire at the residence of Helen Edwards at 168 Lower Helton Road just outside the Alexandria city limits Thursday morning has apparently sparked some controversy and misunderstanding.

Central dispatch received the fire call that morning at 9:08 a.m. and dispatched county fire fighters to the scene. The county fire department, while on the scene, later requested mutual aid assistance from members of the Alexandria Volunteer Fire Department and they promptly responded. But since the location of the fire was so close to the city limits, some have questioned why the Alexandria Fire Department was not dispatched to the scene much sooner, especially when Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins had radioed a request that the city firefighters be sent immediately. The fire apparently started from the utility room and caused extensive damage to a portion of the home.

Donny Green, DeKalb County Fire Chief, addressed the issue during the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners meeting Monday night.

In a prepared statement released to WJLE, Chief Green said that he had spoken with Alexandria Mayor Ria Baker and primarily, there is a misunderstanding among some that the City of Alexandria Fire Department refused to respond to this call. Chief Green says this simply isn't the case. This address is not located in the city limits of Alexandria. Subsequently, proper dispatch protocol was followed by DeKalb County 911 Dispatchers as they dispatched DeKalb County Fire Department to this address. I think the issues of concern have mostly been due to the fact that this address is located near the boundary of the Alexandria city limits and that the City of Alexandria Fire Department was not initially dispatched to this incident.

Chief Green stated that under Tennessee State Law (PUBLIC ACTS, 2004 1 CHAPTER NO. 743), mutual aid assistance can be requested when an agency having jurisdiction determines that additional outside resources are needed to handle the emergency. Nothing in this mutual aid law allows an outside agency to initially be dispatched outside its jurisdiction. The only agreement that allows for initial dispatch of an agency outside its jurisdictional boundary is a formal automatic aid agreement or an inter-local agreement between the two agencies. The City of Alexandria and DeKalb County do not have such agreements in place.

In this particular incident, DeKalb County Fire Department's units were dispatched from Liberty, Temperance Hall, and the Main stations. Upon arrival of our first unit, the DeKalb County Fire Incident Commander conducted a scene size-up and requested mutual aid assistance from the City of Alexandria Fire Department. Alexandria Fire Department was dispatched and arrived on the scene at 9:36 a.m., 25 minutes from the time the fire was initially reported to 911.

According to Chief Green, the sensitive issues of jurisdictional boundaries and applications of mutual aid responses are not new issues in the fire service. In his 25 years in the fire service, he has seen this issue come to light in dealing with incidents across county lines, city limits, and other jurisdictional boundaries. The bottom line is that the mutual aid process must be followed due to legal and liability issues. "There are countless instances where one agency might be closer to an incident than the agency having jurisdictional authority. An example of this would be the DeKalb County High School. We have a station in the county that is located closer to the school than the City of Smithville Fire Department. However, with the school being located in the city limits of Smithville, DeKalb County Fire Department may only respond when requested by the Smithville Fire Department if they request additional and specific resources using the prescribed mutual aid process. We have to follow procedures and the laws," stated Green.

When asked about the possibility of entering into an automatic aid agreement with the City of Alexandria, Chief Green stated that this was certainly a plan that should be explored by the Alexandria City Council and the DeKalb County Commission, in consultation with each governing bodies' attorneys.

Dr. Daniel Hooper Named Pharmacist of the Year at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital

October 25, 2011
Dr. Daniel Hooper

For outstanding achievement in the profession of pharmacy, Dr. Daniel Hooper has been awarded Pharmacist of the Year-2011 at Monroe Carell, Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. The Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, constructed as a freestanding facility in 2004 is nationally recognized as a leading provider of pediatric health care services. Children's Hospital is ranked as one of the top children's hospitals in the nation by U.S. News and World Report Magazine and Parent's Magazine. A 243-bed facility, Children's Hospital provides the highest level of pediatric care and is a top level teaching and research facility.

October is designated as American Pharmacists Month by the American Pharmacy Association. This month long observance is a time to recognize the significant contributions to health care and the commitment to patient care by pharmacists in all practice settings from around the country. KNOW YOUR MEDICINE KNOW YOUR PHARMACIST is the theme and core message for this observance.

Dr. Hooper is a graduate of DeKalb County High School, Tennessee Technological University and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. He is the son of Dr. Doug and Brenda Hooper of Smithville.

UCHRA Replaces Phyllis Bennett as Executive Director

October 24, 2011
Dwayne Page
Phyllis Bennett

Phyllis Bennett, Executive Director of the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency, has lost this position she held for 38 years.

The UCHRA Board of Directors, acting through its Policy Council Executive Committee, voted on Friday to name Ruth Ann Woolbright as the new Executive Director. Her initial term of service runs through June 30, 2012. Woolbright became Temporary Executive Director on August 9 due to Bennett being on medical leave.

The UCHRA, in a prepared news release, states that "UCHRA is under the same acute financial pressures experienced by our county and municipal governments, those in private industry and individual citizens. Our funding from state and other sources is down over 25% due to federal and state budgetary contractions.

Our financial situation requires a strong leader with a clear mandate from the Board in order to make the difficult decisions required to maintain UCHRA's financial solvency and to maintain the maximum possible services to our 14 county service area.

To empower Ms. Woolbright to make these difficult decisions and changes, the Board felt it necessary to give her the job security and authority of a regular appointment to the position of Executive Director.

As a result of the decision to change Ms. Woolbright's status to UCHRA Executive Director, we have necessarily and regretfully ended Ms. Bennett's service in that position.

The UCHRA Board and the community at large appreciates and honors Phyllis Bennett's 38 year tenure as UCHRA Executive Director. However, funding and other considerations require that there can only be one Executive Director.

We appreciate Ms. Woolbright's willingness to serve as Executive Director during this difficult period and anticipate she will continue the good work and public service ethic the Agency had demonstrated under Ms. Bennett's leadership".

Two Men Charged in Separate Theft Investigations

October 24, 2011
Dwayne Page
Joshua Lynne Beaty
William Elton Eisenmann
Mejia Pastor
Luis Alfonso Rubalcava-Romo
Leonel Rodriguez Sanchez

Two men have been arrested by the Sheriff's Department within the past week in separate theft investigations.

24 year old Joshua Lynne Beaty of East Main Street, Smithville is charged with two counts of theft of property over $1,000.

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that Beaty allegedly stole a van from a residence on New Home Road on August 24 and sold it to a local recycling center. The van was valued at $3,000.

In the other case, Sheriff Ray reports that Beaty allegedly took items from a residence on Bluhmtown Road and sold them to a local recycling business. Taken from the property was a tractor engine, tractor radiator, washer, stove, clothing rack, double bottom turning plow, and 1,500 piece Craftsman tool set. The total value was $4,650.

Beaty was arrested on the charges Thursday, October 20. He is under a total bond of $15,000 and he will be in court on October 27.

44 year old William Elton Eisenmann of Page Drive, Smithville is charged with aggravated burglary and aggravated theft of property under $500. Eisenmann's bond totals $7,500 and he will be in court on October 27.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Thursday, October 13 Eisenmann allegedly entered a residence on Eagle Creek Road by cutting a screen and going through a front window. He allegedly stole a pair of Reebok tennis shoes, a Levi shirt, and a bath towel all valued at less than $500. When he left the residence, Sheriff Ray said Eisenmann also left behind his cell phone, a phone card, and a knife.

He was arrested on Friday, October 21.

Mejia Pastor of Goodridge Road, Woodbury is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court November 3.

According to Sheriff Ray, on Saturday October 22 Pastor was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 70 and was stopped after a deputy saw him swerving. Pastor was found to have an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Pastor refused to submit to field sobriety tasks but he did take a blood test.

21 year old Luis Alfonso Rubalcava-Romo of A.B. Frazier Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. Romo was further issued a citation for having no drivers license, violation of the light law, violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance), failure to maintain his lane of travel, and violation of the open container law. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on October 27.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Saturday, October 22 Romo was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 70 and was stopped by a deputy for violation of the light law(driving with no tail lights). He had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Romo performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks and he submitted to a blood test. The officer found in the vehicle a half full container of an alcoholic beverage within hands reach in a cup holder on the console.

Leonel Rodriguez Sanchez of Adcock Cemetery Road is charged with driving under the influence and two counts of reckless endangerment. Sanchez was also issued a citation for having no drivers license, violation of the registration law, violation of the financial responsibility law, violation of the open container law, and violation of the implied consent law. His bond totals $12,500 and he will be in court October 27

Sheriff Ray reports that on Sunday, October 23 Sanchez was operating a motor vehicle and had allegedly run motorists off the road on both Old Blue Springs Road and Highway 56. His license tag number was reported to 911. The vehicle was later found on Cecil Hale Road. The driver, Sanchez, had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Sanchez was unable to perform field sobriety tasks because of his level of intoxication. He refused to submit to a blood test. The officer found an open beer on the console of the vehicle.

Five Injured in Sunday Morning Wrecks

October 23, 2011
Dwayne Page
Craig LeFevre Family Injured in this 2001 Honda Accord
LeFevre Family Injured in this 2001 Honda Accord

Four people were injured in a two car crash Sunday morning on Highway 56 north in DeKalb County near Silver Point while one person was hurt in an earlier wreck on U.S. 70 near Alexandria

Central dispatch was notified of the accident on Highway 56 at 8:07 a.m.

Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 22 year old Autumn Meadows of Silver Point was traveling north in a 2002 Ford Taurus when she crossed the center line of the highway and made an angle impact with a southbound 2001 Honda Accord, driven by 44 year old Craig LeFevre. Passengers with LeFevre were his wife 42 year old Margaret LeFevre and his 11 year old step-son. After impact, the Meadows car came to a final rest in the southbound lane while LeFevre's car came to rest off the side of the road near the woods.

All reportedly got out of the vehicles under their own power except for Craig Lefevre who was pinned and had to be extricated by members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Extrication and Rescue Team. County Fire Chief Donny Green said both doors on the driver side were removed to make it easier to get LeFever out of the car.

All were taken by DeKalb EMS to Cookeville Regional Medical Center except for the child, who was transported there by a private vehicle.

Trooper England said that Meadows will be cited for failure to maintain her lane of travel

In addition to Trooper England, DeKalb EMS, and the DeKalb County Fire Department's Extrication Team, others on the scene were members of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Cookeville Highway Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department.

Trooper England also investigated a separate one car wreck earlier Sunday morning at on Highway 70 west near the four mile marker in the Alexandria area.

Central dispatch received the call at 4:45 a.m.

Trooper England said that 19 year old Tamara Armistead was driving a 2002 Chrysler Sebring west on U.S. 70 when she claims to have fallen asleep at the wheel. The car went off the right side of the road, sideswiped a utility pole and then struck a tree. She was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

Hurricane Bridge Could Be Closed Temporarily Three Nights During the Week Starting in November

October 21, 2011
Dwayne Page
Hurricane Bridge

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has announced that Hurricane bridge could be closed to all traffic temporarily during night time hours from Tuesdays through Thursdays starting next month.

In its latest weekly update on road and bridge projects Thursday, TDOT reported that " the contractor may close the bridge to all traffic between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. CDT on Tuesdays through Thursdays to pour sections of the new concrete deck. While the bridge is closed, all traffic will be redirected to the currently posted truck detour that utilizes I-40 at Exit 254 to SR-53. The bridge will be reopened to normal one-lane signal-controlled traffic each morning by 6:00 a.m. during this period."

WJLE contacted TDOT officials in Chattanooga Friday and an official there confirmed that the bridge closure could begin as early as November 8 but that more specifics would be announced in forthcoming media updates.

The Hurricane bridge rehabilitation began earlier this year and is expected to be completed by October 2013.

The bridge currently is down to only one lane of traffic, and it is being maintained and controlled by a temporary signal for the safety of the traveling public. The current weight postings of 10 tons for two-axle vehicles and 18 tons for vehicles with three or more axles will remain in effect and will be strictly enforced. This allows for work on the north side of the bridge. Further temporary lane shifts may be implemented by flaggers on an "as needed" basis to facilitate work as it progresses, according to TDOT.

OCCI Incorporated of Fulton, Missouri is under contract with TDOT to do the construction at $26.9 million

Alexandria Home Heavily Damaged by Fire

October 21, 2011
Dwayne Page
Fire Heavily Damages Alexandria Home

An Alexandria woman escaped safely from her home Thursday morning after discovering a fire coming from the utility room.

Central dispatch received the call at 9:08 a.m. at the residence of Helen Edwards of 168 Lower Helton Road.

Members of the Main Station, Liberty, Short Mountain Highway, and tanker truck of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the City of Alexandria Fire Department.

The fire was contained to one side of the home but the residence received extensive damage.

BOPP Restricts Sex Offenders From Halloween Activities

October 21, 2011

The Board of Probation and Parole’s officers are again enforcing Halloween and fall festival restrictions against sex offenders under the agency’s supervision. Each sex offender has signed a letter acknowledging that they are prohibited from participating in Halloween activities. BOPP Chairman Charles Traughber said, “The safety of Tennessee’s communities is the top job for our staff all year long. But each year, we inform sex offenders under our supervision that Halloween and fall festival activities are inappropriate for them. The offenders also sign a letter acknowledging they understand and will comply with these restrictions.”

The letters advise sex offenders that:

They cannot answer the door to trick or treaters on Halloween;
They cannot pass out candy;
Their homes cannot be decorated for Halloween, either inside or outside;
They cannot host Halloween parties at their homes;
They cannot go to haunted houses, corn mazes, hay rides or any other seasonal activity;
They cannot be at any function where children are gathered, including private residences;
They cannot give any Halloween treats to children;
They cannot wear costumes and
They cannot take any child trick or treating.

BOPP probation and parole officers are enforcing the restrictions throughout the season. BOPP Field Services Director Gary Tullock said, “Officers are making additional visits, both announced and unannounced, to verify that sex offenders are in compliance with these restrictions. On many visits, probation and parole officers will be accompanied by local law enforcement officers for added emphasis on the importance of complying with these restrictions.”

The Board of Probation and Parole (http://www.tn.gov/bopp/) is an independent seven-member board whose members are appointed by the Governor. The Board is charged with the responsibility of deciding which eligible felony offenders will be granted parole and released from incarceration to community-based supervision. Along with the supervision of those granted parole, the Board is also responsible for supervising felony offenders who are placed on probation by criminal courts.

State Parole Board Member Votes to Deny Bounds Release from Prison

October 20, 2011
Dwayne Page
Gerald Wayne (J.B.) Bounds
Members of Sherman Wright Family seated near Bounds
Members of  Bounds Family seated behind J.B. Bounds
Sherman Wright (Photo from 1972, age 19)

64 year old Gerald Wayne (J.B.) Bounds of McMinnville may have to serve at least two more years in prison before being eligible for another parole hearing.

Following a hearing Thursday, one member of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, Yusuf Hakeem voted to deny parole for Bounds due to the seriousness of the offense in the 1981 fatal shooting of 27 year old Sherman Wright of DeKalb County. If at least three other members of the board vote to concur with Hakeem, Bounds will not be eligible for parole again until 2013


The hearing was held at the Southeast Regional Correctional Facility in Pikeville where Bounds is incarcerated.

Bounds is serving a life sentence for the first degree premeditated killing of 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. Had Wright survived, he would be turning 58 years old on Tuesday, October 25th

Bounds was found guilty of first degree murder by a DeKalb County Circuit Court Jury following a trial in October 1981 and he has been in prison since, having served 30 years and eight months.

He has been up for parole three times, in September 2002, August 2005, and October 2010 This was his fourth parole hearing.

Hakeem, a member of the parole board conducting the hearing, was not at the prison. He presided by video conference from his office in Chattanooga, hearing from Bounds, two members of his family and a friend, and two members of the Wright family. Representing the Wright family were Sherman Wright's mother, Louise Wright; sister, Brenda Cantrell; brother Kenny Wright and his wife Kathy; nephew Nick Wright; aunts, Ponzell Usrey and Lynda Luna; first cousin Katherine Pack, and first cousin Cynthia Rhody and her husband Myron Rhody. Only Brenda Cantrell and Cynthia Rhody spoke for the Wright family during the hearing.

Speaking on behalf of Bounds were his cousin Sondra Williams; niece Lisa Childers, and friend Anita Barrett. Among other Bounds family members present were his brother Billy Bounds and daughter Jessica Green.

In reading the record on Bounds, Hakeem noted that "as a juvenile we have no criminal activity listed on your part. As an adult, there was a misdemeanor for reckless operation of a motor vehicle. As a felony, no other items are listed."

Bounds is a high school graduate and he attended Martin College and MTSU. Prior to the shooting, Bounds occupations included accounting and office work, and he served as a night club manager and insurance file clerk.

While in prison, Hakeem mentioned that Bounds has been involved in various educational classes and occupations. "As far as program participation, he has been a teacher's aide, landscape gardener, in the HVAC refrigeration class, carpenter class, computer literacy class, and anger management class."

Bounds is considered a minimum level trustee and during the course of his incarceration he has been involved in two disciplinary issues, the last being in August, 1998 for possession of drugs.

According to his release plan, if Bounds were to be granted parole, he plans to live with his brother Billy Bounds in McMinnville, or in the alternative, stay with his daughter Jessica Green in McMinnville.

Hakeem said Bounds received three letters of support for his release on parole but there seven letters filed in opposition.

Bounds admitted to shooting Wright but he insisted that it was unintentional. In fact, Bounds said he did not expect to see Wright that day, but ran into him while at the game room, where he had stopped to see someone else. "He owed me some money (more than $2,000). We had several discussions about it over a period of time. I had seen him on Friday night. He had come to my place of business and told me that he was working on some things and that he would have some money in a day or two. On Monday, the day it happened, I was going to DeKalb County and I saw a friend of mine's vehicle at this business (Odyssey Arcade). I didn't know what kind of business it was. I pulled in behind this vehicle and stopped. I walked in. It just so happened it was a game room. Mr Wright was there. He was playing a game. I asked to speak to him. He said just a second. I said okay. I was talking to my friend there. I was just going to talk to him there (inside the building) but he started out the door. As we were going out the door there was a girl there that he knew (Mary Mabe). She said something to him and he stopped. I just went on outside the door and I waited for him. He came out and we started talking about this. I guess we lost our tempers or whatever and I took a swing at him. When I did he stepped back. I missed and he put his hands in his pockets. I knew he had carried a gun. I had a gun so I pulled my gun and he pulled his hands out (of his pocket). Of course, I was mad so I was going to hit him with my pistol and when I did he grabbed it. Whether he hit my hand or I pulled the trigger or whatever, anyway it discharged and it shot him and killed him. I left the scene and drove back to McMinnville. I called my lawyer and he came and got me and we immediately went to the Warren County Jail. I didn't try to flee or anything" said Bounds.

In making a plea for his release on parole, Bounds' cousin Sondra Williams said the family needs him back home. "Both families have suffered because of this one act and we can't go back and make amends for that. But we are asking for him to be released because he has done everything they have asked of him. We do have a plan for him to be with us and for us to give him emotional support if he is released. Jessica (Green) has grown up without her father. She now has two boys of her own. They need a grandfather because she is a single parent. His brother and sister-in-law could use some help because his brother has both legs amputated. So his living in the house with them is part of it. He can be of assistance as well as work and take care of them. He has transportation. He has some money that his mother has left him. He's got a place to live. There are no prior incidences of violence so he is not a threat to society," said Williams.

"I'd like the parole board to take into consideration that he is an old man now. He has a brother who really needs him at home, said Bounds' niece Lisa Childers."He has a daughter and grandsons. He's a father, grandfather, brother, uncle and we could really use him at home. Right now, I am the only one there helping my dad. Its really hard on me. I am a full time nursing student and I could really use the extra help at home with him and Jessica could always use the extra help with her boys. We have a plan for him to have at least a part time job when he comes home. He has a place to live. He is not going to be any kind of threat to society. We do really need him. I lost my grandmother last year after the parole board hearing. We really needed him at home for that. We would really like to have him at home for however many good days he has left. We don't know. None of us are promised tomorrow so I'd just like to ask you to take that into consideration," said Childers.

Anita Barrett, a family friend, said " He has always been a very easy going person. He has a lot of friends. As an adult his life changed going into a different avenue than my life and I didn't see him much. I was married and had my own family. But I always knew that no matter what was going on the Gerald Bounds that I know is still the same. He regrets very much that this happened. He regrets what the Wright family has had to go through but he never intended for it to end like it did. We just want him to have a chance to come back and prove that he can be the person that he is and to help with his brother who really needs him. His daughter and grandchildren really need him and we as his friends want to be there for him. We would support him emotionally and physically, anyway we could. I know exactly what happened during this time. J.B. told me. I know exactly how it happened. I would just like to say that I would trust him with my life. I would trust him with anybody's life. I think he has paid a big, big price for this one mistake and even though it was a terrible mistake I see no reason that this would ever happen again. I would please ask that the parole board take into consideration who he is now and let him come home," said Barrett.

Brenda Cantrell, sister of the late Sherman Wright, gave an emotional plea for Bounds being denied parole. "I understand that its been a long time. We don't forget that its been a long time. I'm sure Mr. Bounds feels like he's paid his debt to society. His family may need him. But we needed our brother also. There's only ten of us here today but a survey was run in our local newspaper a couple of weeks ago and from that survey was the question of whether or not the people of DeKalb County thought that Mr. Bounds should be let out of prison. The result of that survey was 83% no and 17% yes. So not only are we a small representation that Mr. Bounds should not be released but I feel like other people of the county are supportive of us and have the same sentiments that we have that he should not be let out. As a matter of fact, some of Sherman's friends have contacted members of the family to let us know that they would possibly have to move if Mr. Bounds was let out," said Cantrell.

Cynthia Rhody, a first cousin of Sherman Wright, added " I speak for the family that's not here this morning. I'm sure Mr. Bounds has done a lot of time but we don't get Sherman back no more. We have family reunions. We have Christmas at my aunt Louise's house every year and Sherman is not there. Aunt Louise buried her husband, Sherman's father, and her parents and Sherman wasn't there. He missed the birth of his nephews. He's missed the birth of several of our children. We miss him so everyday. Our loss is not gone. We don't wake up and say Sherman will be in this evening for lunch. That's not going to happen to us no more sir. We feel that Mr. Bounds should not be paroled," said Rhody.

Hakeem asked Bounds " What do you think your actions have had on the family of Mr. Wright"?

Bounds replied "I can just imagine its been difficult. I know for my own family its been terrible. I can only imagine what its been for them. I wish there was something I could say that would help in some way but I don't know what it would be," he said.

When asked how he has changed since being in prison, Bounds said "I've learned to have patience. I don't have the temper. I've learned a lot about myself. I've learned a lot about what I used to be. That's changed. I'm not the same person. My problem was anger. That's the reason I took an anger management class," he added.

"In a non restricted environment on the street, what would make us think that you would be in control and not intimidate people or do things illegal," asked Hakeem

"I don't know where this intimidation would come from," said Bounds. " I don't have anything against these people. I understand. I feel for these people. I don't know them and they don't know me. Why would I try to intimidate anybody. I'm an old guy for Christ's sake. I'd like to spend some time with my grand kids. I don't gamble anymore. I don't drink. I don't do any of that stuff anymore. That's not what I want to do. You can do that in here (prison) if you want to. None of my family do drugs. Most of them don't drink. They don't gamble. They don't do any of those things. That's the people I want to surround myself with," said Bounds

Hakeem later asked Bounds why he should be released on parole. "I've always told the truth about what I did, said Bounds. I've never denied my responsibility. I know it's a terrible thing. Thousands of times I've tried to figure out why? I wish if there was anyway I could have took that back a second later and I would have but once its done, its done. So I've tried to do my time. I've tried to do it right. I read a lot. I study things a lot. I've learned new things, crafts, computers, and whatever. I've tried to spend my time constructive. I've been here almost 31 years. I'm 64 years old. I'm committed to leaving here. All I want to do is enjoy my family and friends that I have. I have some very good support from friends that I have known for my entire life. I don't feel that there's anything that would keep me from doing things right and I don't think there's any future in me being here. I don't think that would serve any purpose. I don't know what else I could do to help myself. I feel like the time has come that somebody should put some trust in me,' said Bounds.

In announcing his vote, Hakeem said. 'You (Bounds) are incarcerated for first degree murder and the manner in which it has been described, I would consider it calculated in the manner in which it happened. The programs that you have been involved in, I think are good. The jobs that you've held are very good. But some of the things I would want to see as far as programs are concerned are programs like criminal thinking, thinking for a change. Programs that deal with the mind. Something that gives me great pause and great concern is your account of what took place, particularly when I compare that to the account that's in the appeals record. To me they're very different. Based on everything I can see and understand at this time Mr Bounds I can't vote today to parole you sir. Some of the things I think you need to do is (get in) the type of programs that deal with the mind. Though you have been here for a number of years, the Wright family has no contact, so to speak, with their loved one. When I asked about the impact on the families, I listened as you made comments but I did not hear any remorse on your part for what took place. Be mindful, I am only one vote and my colleagues may see it totally different. They may say you've met all the requirements, Its time for you to go. That vote will take place over the next three or four weeks when they review the files. So my vote today is not final. But my vote today is to decline you for two years for seriousness of the offense with programming as I suggested dealing with the mind. This will tell me that you are ready to move back into society and not be a threat to society," said Hakeem.

Bounds' file will now go to the other six members of the state board of pardons and paroles. They will review the case and cast their votes. The voting continues until there are 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.

It generally takes 3-4 weeks to get a final decision in any case.


Follow Us


News Feed

WJLE Radio

2606 McMinnville Hwy
Smithville, TN 37166

Phone: 615 597-4265
FAX: 615 597-6025
Email: wjle@dtccom.net

Local News

6:30 A.M.
7:30 A.M.
8:55 A.M.
12:00 NOON
4:00 P.M.
9:45 P.M.

DTC Communications

Fiddlers Jamboree