The West Virginia man charged with two violent home invasion robberies here has a lengthy criminal history including two murder charges, one of which resulted in a conviction.
Sheriff Bud McCoig said yesterday that warrants have been issued charging Joshua Small Jr., 50, of Princeton, with two counts each of aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping. Small is being held at Southern Regional Jail in Beaver, West Virginia.
His alleged partner in the robberies, Joni Amber Johnson, 35, was arrested at a Beckley, West Virginia, residence late last week and will face identical charges here, the sheriff said.
The two are also expected to face robbery charges for four more home invasions in Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
"They were becoming more violent as time went on," McCoig said. "In the robbery last Tuesday in West Virginia, an elderly female victim was knocked unconscious."
McCoig and Detective Sgt. Richard Collins were working on extradition plans yesterday.
Small has a three-state criminal history with charges and convictions for theft, burglary, weapons possession- and murder. In September 1994, he was charged with the pipe wrench slaying of a man in a parking lot in Princeton, according to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph in Bluefield, West Virginia. He was later found not guilty, but was indicted in 1995 in connection with a separate shooting death. Small later entered a guilty plea to second degree murder in that case and was stabbed in the back while serving time the next year at Mount Olive Correctional Center. The wound was not life-threatening.
He is also a flight risk. After being arrested on the first murder charge, he escaped from jail and officers located him four hours later riding a bicycle, the Bluefield newspaper reported. According to the criminal history report, Small faced charges in Virginia, West Virginia, and Ohio.
Johnson also has a criminal record going back to 2005, McCoig said. Her most recent conviction was delivery of a controlled substance in 2008. She was placed on parole, but the parole was later revoked, the sheriff said.
The pair allegedly assaulted and tied up their victims during home invasion robberies here on June 29 and July 2. In the second robbery, Small allegedly shoved a 71-year-old homeowner down his basement stairs after binding his legs and arms. In the first robbery, Small allegedly struck the 81-year-old victim on both sides of his neck, causing him to turn over in his chair. The two bound him with duct tape they found in his home, and Small proceeded to search the house.
Small allegedly told Johnson to "shoot to kill" if the victim moved, and then added, "You don't want to die, do you?"
The 71-year-old victim told investigators the female kept her gun pointed at him and said she would "blow his brains out" if there was someone else in the house he had not told them about.
Items from the first robbery here were allegedly pawned in West Virginia, McCoig said. On June 30, the two are also believed to be responsible for the home invasion robbery of a 77-year-old woman in Campbell County.
On July 6, they allegedly robbed an elderly man's home in Giles County, Virginia, before crossing the West Virginia border to commit another robbery a few days later. They are also suspects in a home burglary during their time in Jefferson County, McCoig said. In that crime, a necklace was stolen from a home on Highway 139.
Arrest made in home invasion case
Investigators may have tracked down one member of a home invasion robbery duo responsible for a three-state crime spree.
Breaks in the case, which includes two robberies and a burglary in Jefferson County, occurred Tuesday when the two struck an elderly resident's home in Bland County, Virginia, near the West Virginia border, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported. Working together, investigators from three states developed two suspects and arrested one of them late yesterday afternoon.
Josh Small, age currently unknown, of Princeton, West Virginia, is currently charged with two counts of aggravated kidnapping and two counts of aggravated robbery on warrants issued here, the sheriff said. He was stopped by officers in Princeton while driving a black Chevy Malibu like the one associated with the robberies.
Small and a female accomplice are believed to be responsible for six home invasion robberies- three in Tennessee, two in Virginia, and one in West Virginia.
McCoig and Detective Sgt. Richard Collins worked yesterday tracking down leads involving items that were sold at an area pawn shop after the robberies here. Officers in West Virginia were still looking for the female accomplice.
Tuesday's robbery involved an elderly victim, as have all the other crimes. The robberies here occurred June 29 and July 2. On June 30, the two are also believed to be responsible for the home invasion robbery of a 77-year-old woman in Campbell County.
On July 6, they allegedly robbed an elderly man's home in Giles County, Virginia, before crossing the West Virginia border to commit another robbery a few days later. They are also suspects in a home burglary during their time in Jefferson County, McCoig said. In that crime, a necklace was stolen from a home on Highway 139.
The male was described by victims as "clean cut" with a medium build and no visible tattoos. The woman, described as 18 to 20 years old and attractive, has blonde hair and is "slightly overweight."
They assaulted and tied up their victims. The duo brandished pistols and assaulted their victims here- in one case shoving a 71-year-old homeowner down his basement stairs after binding his legs and arms. In the other, the male struck the 81-year-old victim on both sides of his neck, causing him to turn over in his chair. The two bound him with duct tape they found in his home, and the male proceeded to search the house.
The male allegedly told his female partner to "shoot to kill" if the victim moved.
Swift currents sweep fisherman down French Broad River
Sheriff Bud McCoig used the department's boat to rescue a fisherman yesterday morning after his boat capsized on the French Broad River.
Phil McCullough of Crossville, a retiree who fishes frequently on the river, was able to climb atop the capsized hull and hang on as the boat was swept two miles downriver by the swift currents.
Contacted by the Cocke County Sheriff's Department, McCoig was able to make contact with the victim a few hundred yards from the Jefferson County line- near the area where the French Broad and Nolichucky River flow into Douglas Lake.
"He had his life jacket on when the boat turned over," McCoig said. "That might have saved his life."
McCullough told the sheriff he called to another fisherman on the bank after the accident, and the man called 911. Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes called McCoig. The Jefferson County Rescue Squad was also dispatched.
"He had gotten hung up in some bushes on the bank when I found him," McCoig said. "We were told the river is two feet higher than it was yesterday due to all the rain."
McCullough said his small Bass Tracker boat flipped suddenly after he accidentally turned crossways to the swift current. After making contact with him, McCoig used the sheriff's department boat to tow McCullough's boat back to Cocke County where he had entered the river.
"It was slow going to get back due to the swift currents," McCoig said. "It took about an hour to get there."
Cocke County deputies helped pull the capsized boat to shore.
Investigations yield burglary arrests
Business burglary investigations in both Jefferson City and White Pine are beginning to yield results.
In Jefferson City last week, detectives arrested two local men for breaking into Leeper Hardware - one of them is also charged with smashing open the door at Domino's Pizza next door.
In an unrelated case on Saturday, county deputies uncovered a cache of stolen construction tools after responding to a disturbance in Talbott.
Keith Michael Jones, 27, of 706 East Jefferson Street, Jefferson City, is charged with two counts of burglary and two counts of felony theft in the Jefferson City burglaries, which occurred in the early morning May 24, Detective Lt. Eric Thomas reported.
Also charged with burglary and felony theft in the Leeper break-in is Marquise Arndrell Menendez, 23, of 1777 Cottage Hill Circle, New Market.
The cases were worked by all members of the JCPD investigative team, Thomas reported. Surveillance video from several sources provided an important break in the investigation.
Four chainsaws worth about $3,569 were reported stolen after the door was smashed in at the hardware store, 108 East Broadway. About $150 was taken from Domino's, 114 East Broadway, after the door glass was smashed with a large rock.
The alarm call was received at 5:10 a.m.
Detectives are still trying to track down the Husqvarna saws. If you have any information about the burglaries, please call Thomas at (865) 475-2002, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Saturday at 5:11 p.m., Jefferson County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Mark Denton and Deputy Dylan Bowen responded to a disturbance call at 1126 Talbott Kansas Road, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported.
As they attempted to sort out the situation, Christopher David Baxley, 39, of that address, allegedly jumped through a window and fled into adjoining woods. Deputies were unable to locate him that night, but Deputy Michael Bingle arrested him at 4:11 a.m. at the same residence.
In the meantime, deputies located a garage filled with construction tools reported stolen from White Pine and Morristown, Sheriff McCoig said.
Baxley is being held on charges of probation violation and evading arrest, but is being questioned in connection with the stolen goods, the sheriff said.
Several of the tools- which include power saws and drills, transit equipment, and many other items- were reported stolen April 24 from a work trailer at the Lakeway Christian Academy construction site, White Pine Detective Sgt. Darin Lane reported. McCoig said other tools recovered have already been traced to a construction site and a hotel at Exit 8 in Morristown.
Detective Sgt. Richard Collins of the sheriff's department was combing through the tools yesterday as the investigation continued. Sgt. Chris Edmonds and Deputy John Hargus also worked on the investigation.
Trio sentenced in conjunction with large marijuana find
Three men arrested last August when officers discovered 270 pounds of marijuana at a New Market residence received prison sentences last week.
Circuit Judge Duane Slone gave two of the perpetrators, who entered guilty pleas, 12 year sentences. A third was sentenced to four years.
Deputies with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, along with agents from the Fourth Judicial District Drug Task Force, TBI, and state Department of Homeland Security, also seized $1,000 cash, an SUV in possession of one of the men, and a .22 rifle.
The pleas last Monday included:
Luis Sosa Sanchez, 37, of Rutledge, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, 12-year sentence suspended to community corrections after serving 12 months, fined $5,000.
Edward Ray Blair, 65, 3126 Birds Creek Road, Sevierville, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, 12-year sentence suspended to community corrections after serving 12 months, fined $5,000.
Jerry Steven Covington, 65, 1607 Elmore Road, New Market, attempted possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, sentenced to four years with parole release eligibility after serving 30 percent, fined $5,000.
Sanchez allegedly tried to flee out of the back door at the time of the August 25 raid, but ducked back inside when he found himself confronted by officers with weapons drawn, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported.
McCoig said investigators received information that a shipment of marijuana from Mexico would be arriving at the residence before obtaining the search warrant. He said a small amount of pot was also found hidden in a mattress at the residence
Woman guilty in embezzlement
A Cocke County woman indicted by a Jefferson County Grand Jury in 2016 entered a guilty plea Monday to the offenses.
Special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation obtained indictments naming Rhonda Michelle Reece, 39, Newport, a former employee of the Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Office in connection with a theft and misconduct investigation.
Tennessee Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said comptroller auditors were first alerted to this issue by officials from Jefferson County after a citizen received a past-due notice for his adequate facilities tax- a bill which the citizen could prove he had already paid. Jefferson County's finance director, with assistance from the comptroller's office, performed an internal review of the receipts and deposits of the Planning and Zoning Office and found the problem was more widespread. The internal review determined $21,752 unaccounted for in adequate facilities tax and building permit collections.
"Jefferson County can reduce the risk of theft by segregating money-handling duties within its Planning and Zoning Office," said Wilson. "The county finance director has indicated that this weakness has been corrected."
In August 2015, at the request of the Fourth Judicial District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn, special agents began investigating reports of missing funds. During the course of the investigation, agents developed information which led to Reece as the individual responsible for the missing funds. The county had terminated Reece's employment in June 2015, before it had learned of the discrepancy.
The indictments naming the defendant charged her with one count of theft over $10,000, one count of theft over $1,000, and four counts of official misconduct.
Reece pleaded guilty to the theft charges but the official misconduct charges were dismissed in the agreement.
Judge Duane Slone scheduled sentencing for Reece on June 18.
Hamblen duo guilty in Jefferson murder
Two Morristown men have entered guilty pleas in the 2016 bludgeoning death of a New Market resident.
They were scheduled to go to trial Wednesday in Jefferson County Circuit Court.
Gregory Dean-Jeremiah Maner, 29, Elmwood Drive, and Brandon Phillips, 33, Brockland Drive, were originally charged with felony murder, and especially aggravated robbery in the robbery and death of Donald Dunham, 69, whose body was found by his wife in the garage of his home on West Old Andrew Johnson Highway on February 25, 2016.
Assistant Prosecutor Chuck Murphy negotiated a plea agreement with both defendants who pleaded guilty to second degree murder and especially aggravated robbery.
Judge Duane Slone sentenced Maner to 35 years, and Phillips to 30 years. Both served at 100 percent.
Jefferson County Sheriff GW "Bud" McCoig said Dunham was to have picked up his wife at work the day of the murder, but when he didn't arrive at her place of employment and couldn't be reached by phone, Mrs. Dunham found another way home. Upon arrival she found her injured husband lying in the garage. He died after being taken to the UT Medical Center in Knoxville.
"The investigation shows that Maner, Phillips, and a third individual went to the Dunham residence and parked across the street. Maner and Phillips got out and went into the garage to rob Donald Dunham of pills. They beat the victim and struck him with a hammer," the sheriff said, pointing out that the third male walked away. He did not participate in the assault and has not been charged.
After the bludgeoning, the assailants picked up the third male and fled the scene.
According to McCoig, the victim sustained trauma to his head from the hammer, and "he also was hit with their fists and kicked."
A tablet and keys taken from the victim were recovered with the assistance of the Hamblen County Sheriff's Office.
McCoig, at the time of the murder, said the defendants knew Dunham "through drug trafficking."
Enthusiastic Xander is top dog
It's all Xander can do to sit still. The three-year-old Belgian Malinois police dog lives for his work.
"He's very active- that's for sure," said his partner, Jefferson County Sheriff's Department Deputy Kayla Daniels. "When we get ready to work, it's just like he's vibrating with excitement. He's ready to go all the time."
Xander's enthusiasm- and Daniels' training expertise- were on display at the recent K9 Street Survival Seminar in Sevierville, where they won "Best Overall K9 Team" from a field of 65 other dogs and their police handlers.
"Kayla is a great asset to our department," Sheriff Bud McCoig said. "I'm proud of what she and Xander accomplished at the seminar."
Xander is a "dual purpose" police dog, trained in narcotics detection, as well as tracking and apprehension of suspects. He is certified by the National Narcotics Detection Dog Association.
In the weeklong Street seminar, dogs and their handlers competed in a wide range of tests. Xander and Daniels won the tactical obedience competition. They also excelled in a timed search of narcotics, a suspect tracking test, and a "hardest hit" apprehension competition.
"We've been partners for about a year and a half," Daniels said of Xander. "He came from a good litter from a breeder in Florida. Most of his brothers and sisters are either police dogs or compete in sports."
Daniels is an integral part of the sheriff's department's canine program, the sheriff said.
"She has worked with animals pretty much her whole life, and she has her own obedience training business," McCoig said. "She's really helping us enhance our program."
Daniels is also the handler for Moose, a bloodhound tracking dog. McCoig said Daniels is also helping him select a bomb detection dog that will be on the job soon.
Daniels, who formerly worked as an animal control officer for the county, has been training dogs for about nine years. She previously worked at the Knoxville Zoo and Town & Country Animal Hospital. She inherited her interest in law enforcement.
Her father, Dennis Daniels, worked as an officer at both the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department and the Jefferson City Police Department during his law enforcement career.
Dandridge man gets 15 years for burglary
A Dandridge man was sentenced to 15 years last week after pleading guilty to a series of burglaries and thefts.
Joseph Scott Clouse, 34, of 310 Milldale Road, must serve 45 percent of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole, Circuit Judge Duana Slone ordered last Tuesday.
Clouse entered guilty pleas to 16 counts of aggravated burglary, three counts unlawful possession of a weapon, four counts theft over $2,500, three counts theft over $1,000, nine counts theft under $1,000, and two counts vandalism.
Sheriff Bud McCoig reported that the charges stem from a series of thefts in the county. Clouse was arrested in September at the Family Inn on Crosswood Boulevard in Knox County after Dandridge Patrolman Robbie McMahan stopped a vehicle in the Dumplin Valley Road area that had been spotted in the area of several of the recent burglaries.
Officers were able to develop information that led to the motel at the Strawberry Plains exit on Interstate 40.
Dandridge man charged with string of 16 car burglaries
The discovery of a suitcase filled with stolen items led to the arrest of a South Carolina man for multiple car burglaries, Sheriff Bud McCoig said yesterday.
Deputy Austin Hux found the suitcase September 27 after responding to a domestic disturbance call on French Mill Road in Dandridge. The recovery led to the issuance of 30 warrants and the arrest of Troy Wayne Skinner, 29, who had been living at the residence.
Skinner is being held at the Jefferson County Jail with bail set at $147,500. He faces 30 counts of burglary and theft, including three theft counts for allegedly stealing cars.
Detective Sgt. Richard Collins reported that the car burglaries began in late August and moved through the Piedmont and Shields Ridge areas. The perpetrator took items, including a bag of golf clubs, from unlocked cars. When keys were left in the car, he left with the vehicle as well, at one point taking a $48,000 BMW that he abandoned a short distance away.
"So far we've accounted for 16 car burglaries," McCoig said. "We were able to recover some of the stolen goods from pawn shops."
It's Halloween... be scary, but stay safe
It's okay to be scary, but keep it safe.
That's the message from local law enforcement officers this Halloween. They will have extra patrols on the road- and acts of vandalism and arson will not be tolerated.
"One thing we'd like to remind parents when they are taking trick-or-treaters around is not to leave hatches or doors open when vehicles are moving," said Jefferson City Police Chief Andy Dossett. "It can be dangerous. If you are driving, look out for little kids crossing the road."
The forecast is for a chilly, clear night. The moon is waxing towards full on November 4, so thre should be plenty of moonlight for tonight's candy collection. There is a 100 percent chance of creepiness.
"Last year, we had a peaceful Halloween," said Sheriff Bud McCoig. "We didn't have any serious problems, and I hope it's that way again this year."
The department's "Volunteers in Police Service," or VIPS, will be assisting with patrols in local neighborhoods.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is planning increased visibility and enforcement efforts on Halloween to ensure a safe and happy evening for all Tennesseans.
There were 17 people killed during the 2016 Halloween holiday. Seven of the 17 fatal crashes were alcohol related. As of October 24, there have been 99 pedestrian fatalities in Tennessee. That's 17 more compared to the same time last year.
"This is a time when we see vehicle and pedestrian traffic increase," Colonel Tracy Trott said. "Our traffic enfrocement patrols will be increased using the latest technology to conduct traffic enforcement saturations and checkpoints. Don't choose to get behind the wheel if you've been drinking. Always designate a sober driver."
McCoig and Dossett offered the following safety tips for parents and their trick-or-treaters:
- Use make-up or face paint instead of masks, but if masks are used, make sure they fit properly and have holes large enough for the mouth and eyes.
- Choose costumes that are marked "flame0retardant."
- Wear light-colored clothing at night, short enough to prevent tripping. Add reflective tape or reflectors to dark-colored costumes.
- Make props such as magic wands and swords out of cardboard, rather than metal or wood.
- Give and accept wrapped or packaged candy only.
- Have children bring treats home for adult inspection before they (the treats) are eaten.
- Accompany small and elementary age children when they are trick-or-treating and send older children in groups.
- Go out in daylight and carry a flashlight in case of delay.
- Have children stay within the neighborhood; visit only homes you know.
$70,000 in stolen goods recovered
Detectives have recovered about $70,000 worth of power equipment stolen in two separate burglaries, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported yesterday.
Officers are asking for the public's help in locating two men charged in connection with a September 3 break-in at Outdoor Power Plus in New Market, the sheriff said. In a separate case, a Dandridge man is charged with stealing a farm tractor and other equipment from a Florida woman's local property.
Last week, McCoig and Detective Sgts. Richard Collins and Perry Moyers located two Ex-Mark zero-turn mowers, calued at a total of $21,000, that had been stolen in the burglary at Outdoor Power Plus of 1025 West Highway 11E.
Collins developed information that led the investigators to Morristown, where one of the mowers had been sold, and then to Knoxville, where the two men being sought were last known to have resided, the sheriff said.
Warrants have been issued for the arrest of both Christopher Lee Long, 34, and Jason Slagle, 38, both of Knox County. Long is five feet six inches tall, 140 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. Slagle is six feet tall, 185 pounds, with strawberry brown hair and blue eyes.
"They could be in Knox or any of the surrounding counties," said McCoig. "Warrants have been issued charging each with theft over $10,000."
The two are accused of cutting through a fence behind the business to gain access to the mowers.
Jeffery R. Terry, 38, of East Highway 25/70, Dandridge, is charged with theft over $10,000 in an unrelated case, the sheriff said.
The investigators recovered a Kubota tractor, John Deere Gator, and John Deere zero-turn mower reported stolen from a building in Dandridge owned by a Florida woman, McCoig said. Total value of the stolen items is about $48,000. The theft was discovered last Monday.
Terry allegedly attempted to pawn the equipment in Newport.
Street-level dealers target of indictments
Deputies are in the process of arresting about 20 people indicted for alleged drug-peddling following recent presentments before the Jefferson County Grand Jury, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported.
At the scene of one arrest yesterday morning, officers found two children, ages three and thirteen, padlocked inside a residence with no adult supervision. McCoig called Department of Children's Services investigators, and charges are expected, he said.
We thought we were going to have to break down the door to get to them," the sheriff said of the incident on Bentwood Way in Dandridge. "The door had been padlocked from the outside, but we were able to get a key after the guy we were looking to arrest showed up."
Jackie Paul Henry, 45, of 745 Bentwood Way, is charged with three counts of sale and delivery of methamphetamine, the sheriff said. The indictment was returned by grand jurors on August 21 following an undercover investigation by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, Jefferson City Police Department, and Fourth Judicial District Drug Task Force.
McCoig said his understanding was that the two boys are Henry's grandchildren. He and other investigators talked to several others at the scene and were looking for the children's mother.
McCoig provided a list of others arrested so far in the round-up of alleged street-level drug dealers. Persons charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Timothy Travis Guinn, 35, 1616 Martin Luther King Drive, New Market, sale and delivery of LSD, sale and delivery of marijuana.
Barry Whaley, 34, 792 Hugh French Road, New Market, sale and delivery of counterfeit controlled substance.
David Wayne Davis, 84, 2487 Black Oak Road, Jefferson City, three counts sale and delivery of oxymorphone.
Megan Latosha Yates, 30, 572 Ritz View Drive, Blaine, sale and delivery of oxymorphone.
Terry Dewayne Appleton, 54, 541 Regina Circle, Jefferson City, sale and delivery of Schedule II controlled substance.
Luis Rafael Rodriguez Ortiz, 42, 754 Bentwood Way, Dandridge, three counts sale and delivery of methamphetamine.
State grants will benefit local police
Highway safety in Jefferson County will receive a $75,000 boost from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office during the coming year, Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner David Purkey announced yesterday morning.
Accompanied by Director Vic Donoho of the Tennessee Highway Safety Office, Purkey and other officials made their first stop of the day at Dandridge Police Department during a four-stop tour to announce a total of $5 million in grants across the state.
"Local law enforcement officers can use their grant funds to save lives," said Purkey, who is a former state trooper himself. "The funds can be used for both overtime and equipment to help at a time when we know local budgets are stretched."
Highway safety grants announced by Purkey include $30,000 to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, $20,000 to the Jefferson City Police Department, $15,000 to Dandridge Police Department, $5,000 to the White Pine Police Department, and $5,000 to the Baneberry Police Department.
"We really appreciate the good news," said District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn. "These are much needed resources that we can use to keep our roads safe."
The source of the grants is funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. About 400 grants will be given out statewide. The Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) administers the grant funds.
Every year, traffic safety advocates, non-profit organizations, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, District Attorney's offices, and other state agencies across Tennessee seek funding through grant applications offered by THSO. Applicants who meet the required data-driven criteria and highway safety standards are awarded grant funds to support THSO's mission to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities. Grant funding provides essential highway safety training and equipment for law enforcement agencies, sophisticated crash data collection analysis technology, specialized DUI prosecutors, resources for emergency response personnel, and educational tools to help improve driver behavior.
A large group of law enforcement personnel attended the announcement, hosted by Dandridge Police Chief Carson Williams and his department.
"What you do every day is important," Purkey told them. "Something I've learned over the years is that officers will always do a good job if they have two important things: equipment and training. I challenge you to take these grants and use them to save lives."
Raid nets 270 pounds of marijuana
Investigators seized 270 pounds of Mexican marijuana while executing a search warrant at a New Market residence Friday morning, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported.
Three people were arrested at the house at 1607 Elmore Road. One tried to flee out the back door, but ducked back inside when he found himself confronted by officers with weapons drawn.
"He was taken into custody without further incident, along with the other two at the residence," McCoig said. "We found the marijuana under a stack of horse blankets. It was packaged for resale."
Deputies with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, along with agents from the Fourth Judicial District Drug Task Force, TBI, and state Department of Homeland Security, also seized $1,000 cash, an SUV in possession of one of the men, and a .22 rifle.
Charged with possession of marijuana for resale are Jerry Covington, 65, Edward Ray Blair, 65, of that address, as well as Luis Sosa-Sanchez, 37, of Rutledge. All three were being held at the Jefferson County Jail with bail set at $50,000 each.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has placed a detainer on Sosa-Sanchez for suspicion that he is in the county illegally, the sheriff said. It was he who was arrested after trying to run out the back door. A Nissan Frontier vehicle in his possession was also seized.
McCoig said investigators received information that a shipment of marijuana from Mexico would be arriving at the residence Friday before obtaining the search warrant. He said a small amount of pot was also found hidden in a mattress at the residence.
New Market man charged with forgery
An investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in the indictment by a Jefferson County grand jury of a New Market man on a forgery charge.
On May 24, at the request of Fourth Judicial District Attorney General James Dunn, TBI special agents began investigating allegations Timothy Mack Lindsey, 44, Mutton Hollow Road, forged a signature on a court document.
Lindsey has had an ongoing conflict with Circuit Judge Rex Henry Ogle since his divorce several years ago and subsequent child support issues.
The defendant since then has attempted to give documents to the judge, Sheriff G.W. "Bud" McCoig, and Court Clerk Penny Murphy.
"He doesn't recognize the government," the sheriff said, adding that Lindsey doesn't use his legal name, referring to himself only as "man."
Agents determined Lindsey went to the Jefferson County Circut Court Clerk's Office in May to file an affidavit.
An employee of the clerk's office told Lindsey she would file the affidavit, however, she would not sign or certify it.
Further investigation revealed Lindsey also filed a copy of the affidavit with the Jefferson County Register of Deeds Office. The signature included on the document for the clerk was determined to be forged, according to TBI.
TBI agents arrested Lindsey on Monday as he tried to give McCoig another document.
When he resisted, Lindsey was charged additionally with resisting arrest.
'Back the Blue' honors Sheriff's Department
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department received one hundred gift bags on August 1, in honor of Back the Blue Day, presented by Buffalo Grove Baptist Church. Special thanks were expressed to Walmart, TVA Credit Union, Citizens National Bank of Jefferson City, Fox Feed, ReMax realtor Larry Gatlin and the Gambrell, Bien and Livesay families for donations to make the bags possible.
Pictured (from left) are Administrative Assistant Karen Chambers, Court Bailiff Charles Briggs, Deputy Garett Keller, Deputy Kristie Kirby, Deputy Mark Snowden, Deputy Joey Rush, Sheriff Bud McCoig, McKenzie and Carla Gambrell, Pastor John Pinkston, Piper and Jeff Gambrell, Connor Bien, Detective Sgt. Randy Poe, Detective Sgt. Pam Taylor, Corrections Officer Noland Woodring, Detective Sgt. Richard Collins, Corrections Officer Tori Hill, Captain Ricky Oakes, Detective Sgt. Perry Moyers, and School Resources Officer Jake Reneau.
Woman charged with torching campsite
A Dandridge woman is charged with arson after she allegedly set fire to the tent at a Newport man's campsite on Douglas Lake, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported.
Cynthia Gail Banks, 55, of 3683 Collier Loop, was arrested after the incident last Thursday at the Moon Hill Bridge lake access just west of Chestnut Hill Road.
Marcus Patterson, 52, told deputies he returned to his campsite to find it in smoldering ruins. The tent and contents, which are property of Diane Spence, were valued at about $1,005.
Two youths told Cpl. John Holland that they saw a woman rip up the tent and set it on fire. She allegedly removed some food and chairs and encouraged the boys to "take what they wanted," Holland reported. Patterson reported that Banks was at the campsite when he left.
15-year old charged with shooting, stabbing in separate incidents
Law enforcement officers caught up to a 15-year-old youth who allegedly shot a Dandridge man in the leg during an argument last month- only to find he had also allegedy stabbed his girlfriend's stepfather, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported.
The youth is in juvenile custody, charged with two counts of aggravated assault, aggravated burglary, and vandalism, after being arrested last Thursday in Knoxville.
The shooting occured July 11 in Dandridge. The stabbing and burglary took place in Meigs County, the sheriff said.
On July 11, deputies responded to 709 Old Dandridge Pike in Strawberry Plains, on a call that a 32-year-old man had been shot in the leg during an altercation.
Deputy Shane Hanshew reported that he and other officers found Hoshua D. Chase with a single gunshot wound about three inches below his left knee. He was taken to University of Tennessee Medical Center for treatment.
Chase and others at the scene indentified the shooter as the 15-year-old male, who had been living in a tent on the same property. Officers were told the perpetrator was "high on methamphetamine" and was upset because his girlfriend had been taken into custody in Knox County as a run-away.
The teen, however, fled into the woods before deputies arrived, and officers were unable to locate him.
Officers were told that the youth used a black handgun to fire one shot into the ground before firing another shot that struck the victim.
McCoig said that during their investigation and attempts to find the teen they received information from Meigs County investigators about a burglary and stabbing there.
The youth is charged with breaking into the home of his girlfriend's parents and then stabbing her stepfather after the man confronted the teen about the incident.
Three-year-olds drown on area lakes
Two three-year-old children died in unrelated drowning accidents on area lakes over the weekend, law enforcement officers say.
On Sunday afternoon, emergency responders were unable to save the life of a three-year-old boy found underneath his family's boat dock on Cherokee Lake in Talbott, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported. Twenty-four hours earlier, a three-year-old Alabama girl was pronounced dead at LeConte Medical Center after searchers found her submerged in the water at a Douglas Lake swimming beach where she and her family had been visiting, Sevier County authorities reported.
"It was a tragic weekend," Sheriff McCoig said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with both families."
Neither child's name had been released yesterday in order to allow for notification of family members out-of-state.
McCoig said the three-year-old boy was discovered missing by his mother after she came home from the store about 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Their grandfather had been watching her three children, ages three, five, and nine, while she was away, McCoig said.
Deputies, paramedics, firefighters, and Rescue Squad members were on the scene at the 8361 Greenbrier Road, Talbott, residence within about 10 minutes of the 6:30 p.m. call, the sheriff said. The searchers found the child's shorts near a trampoline in the yard, and the 60-year-old grandfather jumped into the water at the dock, where he found the boy about 28 minutes after the initial call in water eight to ten feet deep.
"He handed him up to paramedics, who started CPR immediately and rushed him to the ambulance," McCoig said.
Both paramedics continued attempts to revive the child, with Sgt. Dave Taliaferro driving their ambulance to the Jefferson Memorial Emergency Room, where staff were waiting outside.
"The medical personnel made great efforts to help the child, but it was too late," McCoig said.
According to deputies' reports, the mom and three children had come from Florida about two months ago to live with the grandfather.
Responding with paramedics were the Jefferson County Rescue Squad and Lakeway Central Volunteer Fire Department. Deputies John Holland, Mark Snowden, Adam Hobbs, and Josh Rigsby also participated in the search.
Sevier County authorities reported that a three-year-old Alabama girl was the victim of an apparent drowning Saturday evening at the swimming beach area on the Sevier side of Douglas Dam.
The girl, who was part of a group including her parents, was discovered missing at about 6:15 p.m. Stanley Jackson, the organizer of a fishing tournament getting ready to hold its weigh-in nearby, said his staff and others rushed to the scene after being approached by the child's mother. Jefferson County Rescue Squad members were also assisting with the tournament and responded.
Searchers formed a human chain in the swimming area and found the victim submerged in the water within about 15 to 20 minutes. A bystander began CPR as paramedics arrived. The girl was taken to LeConte Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
The victim and her family were not associated with the Mountain Music Kids' Boss Tournament, said Jackson. However, it was a relative of one of the tournament participants who actually located her in the water.
The tournament, in its 27th year, drew 354 participants, Jackson reported.
There was actually a third incident involving a three-year-old child on an area lake this summer, McCoig said. On June 20, an 11-year-old girl may have saved her three-year-old sister's life after the child came close to drowning at Cherokee Dam swimming area. The victim was checked out at Jefferson Memorial, but was okay.
County's $105 million budget anticipates no property tax hike
County Commissioners will vote June 29 on a recommended $105 million budget that includes no anticipated property tax increase.
A public hearing and workshop session on the budget will occur June 19.
Commission's budget committee came within $375,000 of balancing spending with revenue. The committee recommends using hospital lease funds to balance the budget- but only temporarily, since roll-over from the current year is expected to cover the gap.
The budget provides three new corrections officer positions, a new E911 dispatch position, and 1.4 percent cost-of-living raises for employees. It includes funds for two new ambulances, as well as a long-requested boost in spending on fire departments. However, a dozen positions were cut from the school budget- nine of them directly related to the classroom. Local funding for schools actually increased, but state funding changes led to the cuts.
The budget committee whittled its way down from an original budget proposal about $1.4 million in the red.
Their ax fell hardest on the request submitted by Circuit/Sessions Court Clerk Penny Murphy. She had asked for an additional $191,000, mostly to expand a staff that is struggling to keep up with an ever-growing caseload, but the committee voted to keep funding the same as this year (except for the cost-of-living raise and associated costs).
The committee cut about $90,000 from the requested $221,000 increase for the Emergency Medical Service. The budet still includes enough for two new ambulances, though Director Brad Phillips asked for three.
Sheriff Bud McCoig had asked for four new corrections officers and a new nurse position for the jail. The committee is recommending two officers and the nurse. They also okayed a $38,000 request that would equalize deputy holiday pay with that of other county employees.
Jails in the state average one corrections officer per five inmates, the sheriff said. The local jail has one per 26 inmates.
E911 Director Justin Crowther had asked for two new dispatchers, and the committee is recommending one. One position was added last year.
School Board struggled with state changes to the revenue stream, most notably in the way dollars are funneled for at-risk students.
A dozen positions were cut from the school budget- nine of them directly related to the classroom. The $62 million proposed school budget actually grew by $250,000 in local revenue (from an increas in the amount each penny on the property tax nets), but a change in the way state funding is allotted outpaced that growth by three quarters of a million dollars. School Board decided to cut the positions, including nine personalized learning facilitators from the elementary and middle schools, instead of submitting an unbalanced budget.
The proposed budget also includes the proposed settlement of an issue that has been smoldering for years- inadequate funding for local fire departments.
Budget committee ended up recommending a reduction for the smallest volunteer fire department in order to shore up funding in three larger ones and possibly avert a showdown with two cities.
The committee settled on a four precent incrase in the total amount that will go to the 10 departments (including the rescue squad). Two cities, White Pine and Dandridge, who both said they'd keep their fire trucks at home unless the county paid more of its share for fire protection, didn't get the full amounts they requested, but the recommendation is a significant increase (55 percent for Dandridge and 27 percent for White Pine). The big loser, however, would be tiny Parrott's Chanel Community Fire Department, which only has three trucks. The committee's plan cuts its donation by 55 percent. The recommendation also adds a 13 percent increase for New Market Volunteer Fire Department.
The recommendation allots a total of $600,000 to the 10 departments. New Market would receive the largest donation at $900,000- boosted by the department's $25,000 allotment for the only county-approved substation as well as a $10,000 increase recommended last week. Dandridge would receive $85,000, an increase of $30,000 over this year but still $15,000 less than requested. White Pine would get $70,000, up $15,000 from this year but $5,000 less than requested.
Parrott's Chapel would fall in at only $25,000, a cut of $30,000 as compared to this year. The department might have been lucky to get anything, however. The committee had ealier whacked it to zero when its request didn't make the state deadline.
The rest of the departments would receive $55,000, the same as last year, under the commitee's plan. The approved motions stipulate that departments must agree to cover their designated areas if they accept their allotted donation.
In a special session last Monday, Commissioners Voted to override Mayor Alan Palmieri's veto of thier resolution asking the Industrial Development Board to hold public meetings to receive input on future development projects. The vote to override was 17-4, with Commissioners Donnie Tabor, Tim Seals, Rob Blevins, and Gene Eslinger voting against.
They also voted to approve the personnel committee's recomendation to hire Curtis B. Hudson, Sr., as the new veterans' service officer.
A Vietnam veteran, Hudson is currently serving as state VFW commander, and has been active in the local VFW Post for years. He was to begin work immediately.
Escaped Hamblen inmate found in Strawberry Plains
Officers located an escape Hamblen County inmate at a Strawberry Plains residence late Monday and also arrested two more people for helping him avoid capture.
Dakota Cheyenne Truslow, 22, was hiding between a bed and the wall at the 2713 Lisa Circle apartment when officers with Smoky Mountain Fugitive Recovery Team entered shortly after 5 p.m. and arrested him without incident, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported. Organized by the United States Marshals Service, the team includes members from the Jefferson and Hamblen county sheriff's departments and other local law enforcement agencies.
Officers had traced Truslow to a Knox County residence, where they recovered four stolen vehicles, and then received information that he might be traveling in a brown/gold SUV to the Lisa Circle residence, the home of Brittany Brown, 26, the sheriff reported.
Contacted by Detective Sgt. Pam Taylor, who was at the Knox County residence, McCoig and Detective Sgts. Perry Moyers and Richard Collins went to Lisa Circle, where they spotted the vehicle and ascertained that Truslow was inside with two other people. The fugitive recovery team responded, entering the apartment at 5:05 p.m.
Brown and Kevin Michael Black, 22, of 1255 Heatherbrook Way, Newport, were both taken into custody at the residence and charged with being accessories after the fact of felony escape. Truslow was returned to Hamblen County custody.
The arrest of Brown and Black brought the number of persons accused of assisting the escapee, who fled the Hamblen County Jail late Saturday night, to four.
Whitney Turner, 21, of 1363 Kingswood Road, Talbott, is charged with waiting for Truslow and fellow escapee Michael Dewayne, 30, of 293 Bob Hollow Road, Sevierville, in a car parked near the jail Saturday night.
After a chase and Knox County crash involving Turner's 2006 Ford Fusion, authorities believe Truslow was picked up by Tara Scarlett Edens, 24, of Morristown, and returned to Hamblen County. She is also charged. Turner and Teal were arrested at the scene of the wreck on John Sevier Highway.
Neither Truslow nor others at the apartment were armed when they were arrested Monday, McCoig reported. Warrants have been issued in Jefferson County charging Truslow with felony evading arrest and reckless endangerment stemming from his 110 miles per hour flight from officers Saturday night. Taylor has also sworn warrants charging him with a recent car theft, the sheriff said.
He will face felony escape, assault on an officer, and other charges in Hamblen County.
Emergency exercise at high school tests readiness
Two Dandridge Police Officers entered an eerily quiet Jefferson County High School.
The commons area reeked of gunpowder, and Officers Doug Atkins and Robbie McMahan encountered the first injured victim against a back wall.
Multiple 911 calls were being fielded at the dispatch center. Dozens of officers - including two special operations teams - paramedics and firefighters were en route. Working their way around corners with assault rifles, the two officers found several more victims calling for help and made it to an outside door, where they spotted smoke pouring from the school's greenhouse. In the area near vocational building, Deputy Jim Potts had exchanged gunfire with two attackers who had taken cover in a stairwell.
It might have only been make-believe, but yesterday's full scale emergency exercise provided vital information to emergency planners.
"We hope we never ever have to deal with something like this," said Jefferson City Fire Chief Lee Turner, who helped organize the mass shooting exercise. "But we want to be as prepared as we can be in case we ever do."
In a nearby church parking lot, the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency activated its mobile command post, a converted camping trailer fitted with radios and live video feed of the school's surveillance system. Sheriff Bud McCoig, Dandridge Police Chief Carson Williams, Jefferson City Police Chief Andy Dossett, E911 Director Justin Crowther, Emergency Medical Service Director Brad Phillips, Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Mike Higgs, school officials, and others directed the response from inside.
Special operations teams from the Jefferson City Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department cleared the building room-by-room. Paramedics with the Jefferson County Emergency Medical Service set up a triage center in the school gym, and Dandridge, Jefferson City, and New Market firefighters attacked the "fire" set by three shooters in the school greenhouse.
During it all, students stayed on lock-down in their classrooms - except for a group of about 30 who played the role of victim in the attack.
"Coordination and command went well," said Turner. "Communications between all the different departments was a problem at times. We knew that was something we have to work on."
Evaluators from several agencies watched and offered feedback during a meeting after the event. The evaluators included representatives from Washington County Schools, Knoxville Emergency Management, Rural Metro, Carson-Newman University Safety and Security, Tennessee Department of Homeland Security, Jefferson County Amateur Radio Service, and Walters State Community College.
Troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol served as perimeter security, and TBI agents entered as the area turned from emergency scene to crime scene.
Hamblem escapee sought after chase, crash
An escaped Hamblem County inmate will be charged in Jefferson County after allegedly fleeing
from officers at over 100 miles per hour earlt Sunday morning, Sheriff Bud McCoig said.
Dakota Cheyenne Truslow, 22, of 4520 Enka Highway, Morristown, eventually crashed his girlfriend's car in
Knoxville and ran as the vehicle caught fire. A fellow escaped inamte and Truslow's girlfriend, who allegedly
picked him up moments after the 10:30 p.m. Saturday escape, were arrested following the wreck.
Truslow should be considered armed and dangerous, according to Sheriff McCoig. The escapee is six feet three inches
tall, weighs 220 pounds, and has brown hair. Anyone with information about his his whereabouts should call the
Jefferson County Sheriff's Department at (865) 3970-9411.
Sgt. David Taliaferro reported that he spotted the 2006 Ford Fusion on Highway 11E at 12:21 a.m. Just under
two hours earlier, Truslow and Michael Dewayne Teal, 30, of 293 Bob Hollow Road, Sevierville, had
broken out of the Hamblem County Jail through its sally port, according to reports from Hamblem County
Sheriff Esco Jarnigan.
The inmates took advantage of overcrowded conditions and a disturbance in the women's block at the jail to assault a
corrections officer and escape by pushing a button to raise the sally port door. Hamblem County investigators believe
Whitney Turner, 21, of 1363 Kingswood Road, Talbott, was waiting for them in the black Fusion nearby.
Taliaferro reported that the driver sped away as soon as he spotted the patrol car and headed west on Highway 11E,
reaching 110 miles per hour. At Old Dandridge Pike he made a sudden left turn and managed to elude the officer.
Troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol were waiting on the other end of Old Dandridge Pike, however, McCoid said.
The chase continued into Knox County to the John Sevier Highway area, where the car ran off the road, crashed,
and caught fire. Turner, who is pregnant, was taken to a Knoxville medical center to be checked before being
booked on a Hamblem County charge of being an accessory to escape.
Teal was also arrested soon afterward. McCoig said warrants have been issued in Jefferson County charging
Truslow with felony evading arrest and reckless endangerment. Detective Sgt. Pam Taylor has also sworn warrants
charging him with a recent car theft.
Authorities believe Truslow was picked up after the crash by a Morristown woman and possible taken back to Hamblem County.
Tara Scarlett Edens, 24, is also charged with being an accessory to escape, Hamblem County investigators say.
Truslow is a suspect in the theft of two handguns and a 2014 Dodge Challenger from a car lot on South
Cumberland Street in Morristown Sunday morning.
Bean Station Police spotted the Challenger, but terminated persuit after it sped up to over 100 miles per hour.
Stolen trailer flies off during chase
A stolen utility trailer broke loose and crashed into traffic yesterday morning as a father and son
led deputies on a chase through White Pine.
The 23-year-old son was apprehended, but his 46-year-old father escaped on foot after their truck smashed
through two locked farm gates and wedged against a dirt bank next to a chicken house,
Sheriff Bud McCoig reported.
Warrants have been issued for the arrest of Jeffrey Allen Morgan, 46, of Cub Circle, Morristown.
Ryan Christopher Morgan, 23, of Talbott, is in custody at the Jefferson County Jail. The charges include
felony theft, reckless endangerment, felony fleeing arrest, resisting arrest, reckless driving, possession
of burglary tools, drug paraphernalia possession, and possession of marijuana.
"The VIN and tags didn't match on the truck they were driving, so the investigation is continuing," McCoig said.
The Hurst utility trailer, which they had allegedly stolen in Talbott, came loose and struck a vehicle on Roy
Messer Highway as the two fled deputies, McCoig reported.
No one was injured in the accident, but the trailer and a vehicle were damaged.
The chase started at 5:51 a.m. on Rocktown Road when the trailer owner was headed to work and saw two men
hitching his trailer to their truck. He chased the gray 2004 Chevrolet Silverado in his own vehicle and called 911.
Deputies Chris Edmonds and Dylan Bowen took up the chase, which went into Hamblen County and then back into
White Pine, where the trailer came loose. The tailgate of the trailer also flew off on Highway 25E
in Morristown, the sheriff said.
The driver, believed to have been Jeffrey Morgan, turned onto a farm lane off Chestnut Grove Road and
crashed through two locked gates before striking an earthen bank.
Both occupants of the truck baled out and ran, but Edmonds was able to apprehend Ryan Morgan quickly.
Jeffrey Morgan escaped. Edmonds and Bowen were assisted at the scene by Deputy Michael Bingle and McCoig.
McCoig said both father and son are convicted felons. He added that Hamblen County Sheriff's
Department is assisting with the investigation.
Two charged with stealing meth
Two people are charged with meth-peddling following an undercover investigation, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported Tuesday.
Both individuals were arrested following sealed presentments before the Grand Jury.
Tiffany Nicole Coffey, 22, of Southerland Avenue, Knoxville, is charged with two counts sale and delivery
of methamphetamine. Robert Lynn Rines, 29, of 5224 Buell Chapel, Morristown, is charged with sale and
delivery of methamphetamine.
The undercover operation was conducted by the sheriff's department and the Fourth Judicial District Drug Task Force.
Restaurant manager charged with theft at Taste of Dandridge
A restaurant manager is charged with stealing cash from the business, sheriff's reports say.
Ashley Nicole Lovell, 29, of 1010 Burchfield Road, Dandridge, is charged with three counts of theft
over $500 and seven counts of theft under $500, Detective Sgt. Pam Taylor reported.
Lovell is accused of stealing between $5,000 and $6,000 from Taste of Dandridge restaurant (540 Patriot Drive,
Dandridge) by using a tip scheme, according to Taylor's report.
Lovell allegedly rang up false transactions for meals and used pre-paid cards to pay $20 towards each purchase.
She then added tips to the transactions for $100 to $600 each and took the money from the restaurant's funds,
Rose indicted for attack on officers
A Jefferson City man has been indicted on charges that he attacked two officers before one of them shot
him last December.
James Thomas Rose, 56, of 613 Moulden Street, is charged with two counts of aggravated assault stemming
from the December 23 incident.
Meanwhile, a TBI probe of the shooting resulted in no charges or allegations of wrongdoing on the part of the
deputies, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported Tuesday.
Rose was treated for a single gunshot wound after an officer fired one shot as Rose attempted to attack him
and another deputy with a knife and a machete, reports indicate.
The incident occurred at a Cora Drive residence during an ongoing domestic dispute. When officers
arrived, they saw a man come outside with a knife and then re-enter the residence, reports at the time state.
When the officers went inside, they found a grandmother and two young children there - and Rose allegedly
attacked deputies with a knife and a machete. An officer fired one shot, which struck Rose, McCoig reported.
The next day, officers made contact with a 46-year-old Jefferson City man who had allegedly been cut on the face
by Rose before officers arrived. The man, Kenneth E. Brown, of the same address, had left the residence
and eventually made his way to Jefferson Memorial Hospital because the bleeding would not stop. He
was released after receiving stitches for the cut, according to deputies' reports.
Brown told officers he and Rose had a disagreement Friday, and Rose "swung at" him. Brown said he thought
at first that Rose had struck him with his fist, but was told his face was bleeding. Brown said he then saw a knife
in Rose's hand, and Rose went to his bedroom and picked up a second weapon, a machete. Brown said he
"started to get" his own knife and told the attacker that he would "kill him" if he came after him again.
Brown, however, left the residence with another person and went to Dandridge, where he eventually
found a ride most of the way home, deputies were told. After arriving at home, he was unable to stop
the bleedng and went to the hospital. Brown told officers that when he got home from the hospital, others there
told him law enforcement had just left.
Arrests follow 100 mile-per-hour chase
Two people face drug and other charges after a 100 mph chase that included a stretch of wrong-way
driving early Thursday morning, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported.
The ride ended on Highway 92 in Dandridge at 4 a.m. after the driver struck a patrol car and fishtailed
out of control, ending up on the side of the roadway where he and a passender were taken into custody,
according to a report by Deputy Brandon Bullins.
Driver Christopher Allen Lee Harmon, 25, of 635 Curley Lane, Seymour, is charged with aggravated assault,
possession of Schedule II controlled substance for resale, reckless endangerment, reckless driving,
evading arrest, drug paraphernalia possession, possession of legend drug without prescription,
and vehicle financial responsibility violation. He is being held at the Jefferson County Jail
with bail set at $30,000.
Passenger Zeynep Elizabeth Sherman, 31, of 103 Tacoma Road, Oak Ridge, is charged with possession of Schedule II
controlled substance for resale, possession of legend drug without prescription, and drug paraphernalia possession.
She was released from jail after posting bond pending a preliminary Sessions Court hearing.
A third occupant of the vehicle, Brianne J. Wentworth, 18, also of 103 Tacoma Road, Oak Ridge, was cited
for drug paraphernalia possession, the deputy reported. She told officers that the driver refused to stop and
let her out.
Jefferson County patrol units picked up the chase as it moved into their district from Sevier County
on Interstate 40. The driver of the 1994 Nissan Quest was being sought for allegedly assaulting an officer,
Moving at speeds as high as 100 miles per hour, Harmon led patrol units to Exit 417, where he entered
Highway 92 toward Dandridge, turning onto Highway 25/70 headed west before turning again onto Price Road,
which connected him back to Highway 92. The van at first headed toward Dandridge, but then made
a u-turn and came back toward Jefferson City in the wrong lane of traffic. The van made contact with Bullins'
patrol car before careening out of control.
Moore faces attempted murder charge for shooting into girlfriend's home
A Strawberry Plains man was indicted on a charge of attempted first degree murder last week for
allegedly firing a gun into his ex-girlfriend's home last year.
Charles Edward Moore, 39, of 631 South Carter Road, is also charged with five counts of violating an order
of protection, possession of a firearm during commission of a dangerous felony, reckless endangerment,
vandalism under $500, criminal trespass, aggravated assault, and two counts harassment.
He is being held at the Jefferson County Jail. Arraignment on the charges is set for tomorrow.
The indictments allege that Moore had a pattern of harassing the 30-year-old ex-girlfriend, culminating
in indictments last April in which small caliber bullets were fired into the residence where she lived with
Last April 15, Deputy Cynthia Breton responded to the residence, where the woman's parents said someone had
driven by their home just before dawn the past two mornings firing a gun.
Sheriff Bud McCoig said further investigation by Detective Pam Taylor and Deputy Curtis French allegedly
revealed several bullet holes in the house. The investigators were able to retrieve at least one
slug lodged in the wall, he added. The sheriff said the gun investigators believe was used to fire the bullets
was later found at Moore's home.
Earlier, the victim had obtained an order of protection preventing Moore from having any contact with
her. However, according to police reports and the indictments handed up by the grand jury last Monday,
he allegedly tried to contact her via Facebook and by cell phone text. In June, while he was in jail,
Moore allegedly enlisted a fellow inmate to hand copy a letter he had written the victim and mail it to her.
Last February, prior to the shooting incident, the victim's car was vandalized. On one occasion, two tires
were flat, and on a second sugar had been poured into the car's gas tank.
Michigan man sentenced to 12 years for statutory rape
A Michigan man was sentenced to 12 years last week for aggravated statutory rape and other crimes
that occured after he contacted a 14-year-old girl on the internet and brought her to his former residence
John David Duford, 56, of 289 Van Buren Circle, Davison, entered guilty pleas to solicitation of a
minor, soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor, aggravated statutory rape, sexual exploitation of a minor,
false report, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Circuit Judge Duane Slone ordered Duford to serve four years of the 12-year sentence with release eligibility after
serving 30 percent. He was placed on supervised probation for another eight years.
Duford was ordered to have to contact with the victim and comply with terms of the state's sex offender registry.
The investigation began in July 2015 when officers recieved an anonymous call, Sheriff Bud McCoig
reported at the time. The investigation resulted in Duford's arrest, and the youth was returned to her
parents in Springfield, about four hours from Dandridge.
Officers reported that Duford allegedly denied that the girl was present at the residence. He would
not let officers inside the house to check, however.
Later, the officers went by the residence and allegedly spotted the youth on the front porch. Duford
was arrested on the contributing and false report charges and made bail. Department of Children's Services
workers interviewed the victim and were told that she had allegedly had sexual contact with Duford,
who was re-arrested several days later on the statutory rape charge, McCoig reported.
The sheriff said investigators believe Duford made initial contact with the girl on the internet
before going to her hometown on his motorcycle and bringing her back here about three days befroe his arrest.
Jefferson Grand Jury returns indictments
A Jefferson County grand Jury met this week and returned a number of indictments.
Charles Edward Moore, 39, Carter School Road, Strawberry Plains, faces charges involving Lauren Rimmer
on a number of occasions in 2016.
On April 15, he allegedly used a firearm in a premeditated attempt to kill Rimmer by firing the weapon into
a residence. He is charged with additional offenses which allegedly occured in February, April and June of
Moore faces charges of attempted first degree murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a
felony, reckless endangerment, criminal prespass, aggravated assault, two counts of harassment and five
counts violation of an order of protection.
Two men face charges stemming from the alleged sale of drugs in a school zone.
Charles Lethan Hall, 25, Bayberry Way, Newport, is charged with five counts of the sale of Suboxone
in a drug free zone.
Jefferson County Sheriff G.W. "Bud" McCoig said Hall was working for a temporary service agency assigned
to work at the Jefferson County High School at the time of the alleged offenses in August and September 2016.
The sheriff said the Suboxone was sold to work release jail inmates who also were working at the school.
Christopher Lynn Kiker, 41, Waterfront Drive, Dandridge, is charged with the sale and delivery of Clonazepam
and Hydrocodone in a drug free zone in August 2016.
Rodney James Ross, 25, Mishawaka, Indiana, is charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a
dangerous felony, as well as felony possession of Oxycodone, Percocet, Methadone, Adderall, Alprazolam
and marijuana. He also is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, violation of an order of protection,
the registration law and the seat belt law.
Two persons are indicted in the burglary of storage units in September and October of last year.
Joshua Cody Fortenberry, 33, Sevierville, and Brittany Lashae Fife, 29, Knoxville, are charged with 22 counts
of burglary, three counts theft over $1,000 and two counts of theft. The couple also is charged with
similar offenses in Sevier County.
Brandon Todd Beckler, 24, Old Stage Road, Dandridge, faces two counts aggravated sexual battery involving a
victim under the age of 13. The incidents allegedly occurred between 2013 and 2016.
21-count federal indictment unsealed
Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Christian Lampe returned to a federal grand jury long enough Tuesday to further
harm accused Hamblen County crystal-meth dealer Luke Trent and create space in the case file for six alleged
associates, according to court documents.
The 21-count superseding federal indictment was unsealed Thursday.
Trent, 29, wasn't at his Pleasant Grove Road home when the FBI and Hamblen County Sheriff's Department narcotics
investigators executed a search warrant and confiscated more than two pounds of crystal-meth, firearms and
prescription drugs, authorities say.
Trent was with Tara Michelle Carmon, his co-defendant and girlfriend, when HSCD investigators took him into
custody in North Carolina. Carmon was indicted for selling meth and harboring a fugitive.
The 12 firearms are problems for Trent because he's a convicted felon and can't legally possess guns
or ammunition. The grand jury also indicted Trent for this and allegedly possessing a firearm during a
The grand jury indicted three others, Willie Shane Jarnigan, Alexander Paul Kelly and April Danielle Kennedy,
for conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of crystal meth and possession of a firearm during a
Jarnigan lived on Stagecoach Road in Hamblen County. Kelly liived in White Pine and Kennedy was an alleged
transient drug dealer who drifted between Hamblen, Jefferson and Grainger counties, authorities say.
The two others indicted solely for allegedly selling meth were Cassandra Dorene Dapson and Lora Beth Seaton.
The two women lived in White Pine. Seaton has been in the Hamblen County Jail for several months.
The crystal-meth offense normally carries a 10-year minimum-mandatory sentence. Those convicted of firearms
offenses will serve five years on top of whatever they get for selling meth.
Couple indicted for 22 thefts of storage units
Grand jurors indicted a couple on Monday that investigators say is responsible for 22 storage unit burglaries
in the Dandridge area. Joshua Cody Fortenberry, 33, of 1064 Sunset Circle, Newport, and Brittany Lashae Fife,
29, 626 Sugarloaf Road, Seymour, are both charged with 22 counts burglary, three counts theft over $1,000,
and two counts theft under $500.
The two were caught after wrecking a car during a chase with Sevier County officers last October. In January,
they were transferred to Jefferson County to be charged here before being returned to Sevier, where they also
face multiple theft charges.
Detective Sgt. Randy Poe investigated the Jefferson County case, which involved thefts in September at storage units
at Aaron Self Storage, 2595 East Highway 25/70 in Dandridge. Surveillance video showed a car the two were travveling
Investigators have recovered thousands of dollars worth of stolen goods taken in the burglaries. Storage units
were also burglarized in Cocke, Hamblen, Knox, and Sevier Counties, as well as cabins in Sevier.
Investigators are searching for a Talbott
teen as they try to sort out details of a
fight in which a Morristown man was slashed
with a knife Sunday afternoon.
3-29-2010 - Three in Custody After Home Invasion
Robbery Deputies were called to a Talbott
residence to investigated a home robbery. Deputy
Rob Smith reports that subjects entered the home
with their heads covered with masks, were armed
with knifes and a ball bat. Upon entering the
home one of the victims was struck with a bat
and the other was held at knife point. The
suspects were demanding medication and money.
After further investigation Detective Curtis
Owens has arrested and charged Ronnie Wilson, of
Morristown, William Simerly, of Talbott, and
Preston Proffit, of Morristown with Aggravated
1-22-2010 – Sheriff’s Office Warns of Craig’s
List Scam - A concerned citizen reported to
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department about a
potential scam on Craig’s list. The complainant
reported that they had checked an ad stating
that a soldier about to be deployed to Iraq
wanted to liquidate his assets. This transaction
was being conducted through a third party that
the complainant called a middle man, ebay
financial department. He also reported fine print at the
bottom of the ad “you be protected”. This, raising his
suspicions caused him to contact Craig’s list for them
to investigate. As a result of the investigation, the
complainant was able to get his money returned.
1-20-2010 – Suspect in Custody after Home Invasion
– Deputies were called to a residence on Valley Home
Road after a subject busted through the front door. The
home owner scared the suspect away at which time he got
his vehicle stuck in the yard and took off running on
foot. Deputies used a K-9 to attempt to locate the
suspect and were able to locate shoes and clothing which
matched the description of the suspect which was given
by the victim. A short time later, deputies received a
call from Christopher Rolen, of Dandridge, who reported
that he had been robbed and his vehicle had been stolen.
He was missing his shoes and shirt when officers made
contact. Upon further investigation Rolen did admit to
breaking into the residence. He was charged with
Aggravated Burglary and has an appearance date set in
General Sessions Court.
10-11-2009 - Three in
Custody after Local Business Robbed at Gun Point - Deputies and Detectives had three suspects in custody
shortly after they entered Taylor's Market, in the
Swannsylvania community, pointing a shotgun at
the owner and demanded money. Charged with aggravated
robbery are Anthony Dewyane Hollifield of Dandridge,
Michael Albert Davis and William Harris both from
Newport. Chief Detective McCoig reports that Harris was
in the store acting as if he were a customer when Davis
entered the store and allegedly pointed the gun at
Rathbone demanding money. Davis then fled with cash in a
pillow case. Hollifield was reported as the driver of
the get away vehicle, which Harris reported to the
police as being stolen by the thieves. All three
suspected of the robbery appeared in General Sessions
Court and are being held under $50,000 bond.
9-25-2009 - Sheriff's
Office Receives Grant Money from Department of Justice -
The Sheriff's Office has been awarded two grants from
the US Department of Justice totaling 55,000 dollars.
One grant will upgrade eleven patrol vehicles with
digital video cameras to better assist officers record
incidents. Portable Radios will be purchased with money
from the second grant. This will allow the department to
purchase P25 capable portable radios which will allow
for better communications with other types of radio
Dandridge Man Killed in Farming Accident – David
Howard, 71, of Grove Road Dandridge, was found by family
members in a field near his residence after he did not
come home from working outside. Corporal Crowther
reports that a set of tools were found near the body and
it appeared that he was working on a farming tractor
when it began moving forward. There were signs that
Howard was struck by the tractor. Howard, who died at
the scene, was transported to Jefferson Memorial
– Skeletal Remains of a Dandridge Man Found on
Interstate 40 – A Tennessee
Department of Transportation employee found a decomposed
body in the area of Interstate 40 near exit 417. The
body was found 50 feet from travel lanes. The body is
identified as James Brooks of 213 Tristan Road,
Dandridge. Brooks lived less than a mile away and had
last been seen over a year ago. The cause of death has
not been determined. Forensics anthropologist from the
University of Tennessee is assisting with the
Deputy Solves Home Burglary and a Arrest is Made –
Deputy Todd Coleman was called to investigate a home
burglary at 2844 Black Oak Road. Upon completing the
investigation he learned of possible suspect
information, and completed a follow up investigation
with the suspects. While speaking with suspects and
witnesses he learned that Brenda Watkins took property
from the Black Oak Road residence without permission
from the owners. This property had been sold since the
incident, however Deputy Coleman was able to track the
property down and it was returned to the owner. Watkins
is charged with felony theft and has a hearing date set
in General Sessions Court.
11-14-2008 - Deputies Receive in-car Computers –
Deputies are now able to use in car computers to
complete reports. This is a great benefit because it
allows the officer to stay in the community on patrol
where in the past the officer would have to dedicate a
large amount of time to the office completing reports.
In addition to completion of reports deputies can obtain
driver’s license and registration information, as well
as Tennessee Department of Corrections information and
history. The computers were purchased using a grant
which the Sheriff’s Department was awarded.
11-3-2008 - Animal Control Assigned to Sheriff’s
– Animal Control officers have been reassigned and are
the responsibility of the Sheriff’s Department. This
change takes affect Monday November 3rd. This will allow
for better response and accountability of animal
complaints and violations. Citizens having animal
complaints should contact the emergency communications
center at 475-3482 and report the issue. The call taker
will prioritize the complaint following general order
established by the Sheriff’s Department and assign an
animal control office
10-18-2008 – Deputy Seriously Injured During VehiclePursuit – Deputy Michael Ramsey lost control of
his patrol vehicle while responding to a vehicle
pursuit. The vehicle which Ramsey was driving slammed
into a concrete pillar along a bridge on West Highway
25/70 near Brooks Road. He was able to crawl out of the
vehicle before it burst into flames. Ramsey was
airlifted to UT Medical Center with serious head and
neck injuries. The vehicle which was being pursued was
later stopped on Broadway in Knoxville. The driver is
facing several charges after assaulting an officer on a
earlier traffic stop.
Meth Lab Investigation After Drug Overdose Report - Investigators found meth making materials at a residence
on Birdsong Lane after a subject was transported to the
hospital suffering from a meth overdose. Chief Deputy
Bud McCoig reports complaints prior to this incident.
When investigators arrived at the residence several
attempted to run out the backdoor, however deputies were
there waiting on them. After gaining consent to search
the residence, items commonly used to make meth, as well
as finished meth product was found. The owner of the
residence, Anita Hutsell, and visitors Michael Dewayne
White, of White Oak Church Road, and Shawn Ray Banks, of
Mansfield Gap Road were arrested and charged with
manufacturing methamphetamine, and possession of meth