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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Court

Trial scheduled for murder suspect (07/22/14)
Trial dates have been set for one of the remaining suspects allegedly involved in a conspiracy to murder a Unionville man. Sean Alexander Gearhardt will stand trial on March 9-13, 2015 for his alleged participation in the murder-for-hire plot that took the life of Larry Walls Sr. in August 2012...
Driver charged in double fatality (07/22/14)
A Soddy-Daisy man was arraigned on two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide stemming from a double fatality in February. Wearing a neck brace, Wesley Howard Luthringer, 29, appeared in Circuit Court Monday before Judge Forest Durard, who set his next appearance for Aug. 18...
Seven indicted Monday by grand jury (07/22/14)
A new Bedford County grand jury was sworn in Monday, returning a small number of indictments. A fresh jury is empaneled every six months. Jurors will return Aug. 18 to examine more cases. Those indicted Monday were: l Lakisha Sharees Benson, 36, theft of property (less than $10,000)...
Court date set in vehicular homicide case (07/08/14)
A Murfreesboro man charged with causing the death of a Flat Creek resident last year has an important court date set for August. On Aug. 15, James Wesley Rader, 42, of Millersburg Road in Rutherford County will have to either make a settlement in his case or have a judge set a trial date...
Walls faces life in prison (06/17/14)
Susan Walls will not see freedom again after receiving a 60-year prison term for the murder of her husband. Walls was sentenced Monday on charges of criminal responsibility to commit first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder in the death of Larry Walls Sr. in August 2012...
Suspect indicted in traffic fatality (06/17/14)
A Murfreesboro man has been indicted for the traffic death of a Flat Creek man last August. James Wesley Rader, 41, was charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident knowing death resulted. Rader allegedly struck and ran over a motorcycle operated by David Brown, 41, at approximately 2:30 a.m. Aug. 31 at the Colloredo Boulevard-Union Street intersection...
State appeals court denies pair of pleas (06/10/14)
Two people from Bedford County serving prison sentences have lost criminal court appeals this past week. Brooke Lee Whitaker claimed she received ineffective assistance of counsel, that her guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered, and that her court-appointed lawyer had a conflict of interest as the former sheriff of Bedford County "that prejudiced his representation ..."...
Grand jury excuses 1, indicts 16 (05/20/14)
One man learned he would not be charged by the Bedford County grand jury, while others moved into the Circuit Court arena Monday. Herman Paul Cozart, 66, had been charged with aggravated assault. The jury entered a "no true bill," meaning they didn't find enough evidence to indict Cozart, and Judge Forest Durard told him he was free to go...
Tankersley motions to be heard in July (05/20/14)
Motions will be heard July 31 in Circuit Court involving a former Community Middle School teacher and coach facing charges relating to an alleged incident involving a student. On July 31, four motions filed by defense attorney Raymond Fraley on behalf of James William Tankersley, who is accused of aggravated sexual battery by an authority figure, will be heard...
Woman accused of drug deal near school (05/14/14)
The Coffee County grand jury has indicted a Shelbyville woman for selling drugs in a school zone. Katrina Kay Smith, 27, of Fairground Heights, was arrested last Thursday on charges of manufacture/delivery/sell of a controlled substance and being in possession of drugs in a school zone...
Walls to learn fate June 16 (05/14/14)
A sentencing hearing has been set for a Unionville women found guilty last week of plotting to murder her husband. June 16 is the day when Susan Walls will learn what her punishment will be after being found guilty by a jury last Friday of criminal responsibility to commit first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder...
Another Walls daughter testifies against mother (05/07/14)
Day two of the Susan Walls murder-conspiracy trial Tuesday included testimony from another family member about what she heard in the days before the 2012 slaying of Larry Walls Sr. Susan is charged, along with her daughter Dawn, with first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder, along with Sean Gearhardt...
Walls trial opens (05/06/14)
Opening arguments began Monday in the trial against Susan Walls, accused of plotting to kill her husband Larry Walls Sr. in August of 2012. But in a surprise move late in the afternoon, Dawn Walls said she would testify on behalf of the state -- despite the fact she is charged with the same crimes as her mother...
'It was my CASA': Former foster child helps others beat the odds (04/30/14)
Tawny Spinelli, having survived a parade of foster homes as a child and then homelessness as an adult, served on a committee with other former foster children while a student at Vanderbilt University. She knew her own story, but she asked the others how they managed to beat the odds and rise above challenging, often tragic, circumstances. After all, only half of all foster children graduate from high school and only 5 percent of foster children go on to earn college degrees...
Sunday Conversation: Children's advocate promoted to group's statewide leader (04/27/14)
Lynne Farrar on Monday is leaving her job as executive director of CASA Works Inc. to serve in the same position with Tennessee CASA. On Tuesday, she will speak at the annual CASA Works luncheon. If you have someone you would like to nominate for Sunday Conversation please contact editor Sadie Fowler at sfowler@t-g.com...
Trial dates set for Minnick murder suspect (04/23/14)
Trial dates have been set for a Jackson man accused of the beating death of a Shelbyville resident last September. Ronnie Dwayne Osler, 46, will stand trial from Dec. 8-11 on charges of first degree murder in the slaying of 23-year-old Jonathan Cody Minnick...
Starrick admits murder (04/22/14)
Jason Starrick will be 76 years old when he gets out of prison, after accepting an open plea of guilty to the charge of first degree murder. Starrick admitted guilt in the death of Larry Walls Sr., who was found dead in August 2012 in his Unionville home...
26 suspects indicted by grand jury (04/22/14)
A total of 26 defendants were indicted by Bedford County's grand jury Monday, while 16 more will have to wait until next month to learn if they have to face a judge. It took Circuit Court Judge Forest Durard Jr., nearly an hour to arraign the suspects, and the 16 cases that were not heard will be before the grand jury when they meet again May 19...
Reduced sentence denied on appeal (04/18/14)
A Shelbyville man serving a 30-year sentence for dealing crack has lost a second appeal to reduce his prison term. Eddie L. Readus claimed that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and on appeal. Following an evidentiary hearing, retired Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler ruled that Readus received effective legal representation, but also ruled he was entitled to a delayed appeal in order for the appellate court to determine whether his 30-year sentence was excessive...
Habitual traffic offender loses plea (04/11/14)
A multiple habitual motor vehicle offender has lost an appeal which claimed he was given an excessive sentence. Last March, Kevin Lee Johnson was given an effective prison term of nine years, six months on charges of being a habitual motor vehicle offender, driving under the influence, and failure to appear after entering an open plea of guilty...
June court appearance set for rape suspect (04/09/14)
A former Bedford County youth minister already in federal custody will make his last appearance in a Bedford County courtroom in June. Joseph Todd Neill, 37, will answer on June 20 to charges of two counts of statutory rape by an authority figure and 21 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor...
Motion scheduled for murder suspect (03/19/14)
Pretrial motions for one of four suspects changed in a murder-for hire scheme have been set for next month. Jason Starrick will appear in court before Circuit Court Judge Forest Durard on April 10 at 1 p.m. with his attorney Jeff Seckler. Starrick is charged with first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder, along with co-defendants Susan Walls, 54, the wife of murder victim Larry Walls Sr., Sean Gearhardt, and Dawn Walls, the victim's daughter...
Porn conviction nets 24-year sentence (03/19/14)
A Shelbyville man was given an effective 28-year sentence for distributing child pornography while making lewd requests of a mother and her young children. Jeremiah Thomas Sullivan told Circuit Court Judge Forest Durard he was "sorry for what I did," before the sentence was handed down on nine counts of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor (over 100 images) and solicitation of a minor...
County sued over zoning denial (03/13/14)
Grady Cunningham, denied a rezoning request for his property on U.S. 231 North after repeated attempts, filed a lawsuit in January in Bedford County Chancery Court against the county, the county commission, and 17 of the 18 individual commissioners, alleging violations of the Open Meetings Act and other procedural violations...
Appeal denied in dispute over gunshots (02/27/14)
A man who fired several shots outside a local nightspot in 2011 lost his court appeal this week. Dejuan Koshief Roberts was sentenced to 13 years for aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and being a felon in possession of a handgun. However, Roberts claimed the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that prosecutors violated the rules of discovery...
Coach indicted on sex charge (02/21/14)
A former Community Middle School teacher and coach was indicted Thursday on a sexually related charge relating to an alleged incident involving a student. James William Tankersley has been charged with aggravated sexual battery by an authority figure, and is set to appear again before Circuit Court Judge Forest Durard on March 17...
Grand jury indicts murder suspect (01/28/14)
First degree murder charges were bought against a Jackson man for the beating death of a Shelbyville resident. The Bedford County grand jury indicted Ronnie Dwayne Osler, 46, for the murder of Jonathan Cody Minnick, 23, of Vandy Avenue. According to testimony from TBI Special Agent Caleb Utterback last week, Osler allegedly admitted to killing Minnick with a brick...
'Kidnapping' didn't happen: investigators (01/24/14)
"Folks can breathe a whole lot easier." Those were the words of Shelbyville police detective Sam Jacobs after a woman who claimed she was kidnapped at gunpoint last month was charged with filing a false report. Melissa Martin was indicted by direct presentment by the Bedford County grand jury Thursday...
Warren admits thefts from vets (01/24/14)
Gordon Warren, Bedford County's former veterans service officer, pleaded guilty Thursday to theft of funds from the United Veterans Council and the American Legion. Criminal information was submitted to Circuit Court Judge Forest Durard, bypassing the grand jury, and Warren waived his right to go through that process...
Murder suspect goes to grand jury (01/17/14)
A Jackson man was bound over Thursday to next week's session of the Bedford County grand jury in connection with the beating death of a Shelbyville resident last September. A preliminary hearing was held before General Sessions Judge Charles Rich for Ronnie Dwayne Osler, 46, who is charged with criminal homicide for the murder of Jonathan Cody Minnick, 23, of Vandy Avenue...
New judge to oversee Hord criminal case (12/24/13)
Arraignment for a former Bedford County detective has been deferred until January so that a new judge can be appointed in the case. Rebecca Hord, 58, of Shelbyville was arrested Monday by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) after she was indicted on charges of theft over $10,000, official misconduct and four counts of forgery by the Bedford County grand jury...
9 indicted; cases go to grand jury (12/18/13)
More than half of those summoned before Circuit Court Judge Forest Durard on Monday will return Jan. 23 to hear if their criminal cases were presented to the 12-person Bedford County grand jury. Those indicted Monday were: Steven Hayward Booker, 44, schedule II drugs (six counts), simple possession, drug paraphernalia...
Embezzlement nets probation, fine (12/18/13)
A woman charged with embezzling more than $70,000 from a Shelbyville condominium complex will spend the next 10 years on state probation after pleading guilty. Mary Jo Craighead, 61, of Chattanooga, who formerly handled finances of Gatewalk Condos, Whitthorne Street, was by direct presentment to the Bedford County grand jury in July charged with theft of property over $60,000...
Two CASA Works volunteers sworn in (12/18/13)
Two new CASA Works volunteers completed 35 hours of training and were sworn in by Bedford County Juvenile Judge Charles Rich on Dec. 9: Mike Clement and Larry Fletcher. CASA Works helps abused and neglected children in Bedford County Juvenile Court and ensures that every child has the right to the safe embrace of a loving family...
Claxton admits pay-to-kill plot (12/17/13)
A Bedford County man confessed his guilt in a murder-for-hire plot Monday. David Lee Claxton, 60, of Warners Bridge Road will have to serve 30 percent of a 20-year sentence before being eligible for release after entering a plea of guilty to two counts of solicitation of first degree murder...
Sanders sues city over disputed land (11/20/13)
A man who bought property from Shelbyville in 1995 only to learn over a decade later that it was owned by the railroad has followed through with his threat to file a lawsuit. Last Friday, Bobby Sanders filed a complaint in Chancery Court against Shelbyville, the county and the Bedford County Railroad Authority, asking to be declared sole owner of the property in question on East Lane Street, and that the title to the land "be quieted fully and forever" against all claims from any and all parties.. ...
Hearing set for beating death suspect (10/31/13)
A man accused of beating a Shelbyville resident to death last month has a preliminary hearing set for early December in his case. On Dec. 5, Ronnie Dwayne Osler, 46, will appear before General Sessions Judge Charles Rich, who will hear evidence in the case and decide if there is enough proof to bind him over the January session of the Bedford County grand jury...
Only 10 indicted by October grand jury (10/29/13)
Most of those on Monday's grand jury docket will have to return next month to learn if they will be indicted. Out of the 17 criminal cases listed, 10 were not presented to the Bedford County grand jury -- meaning those accused will have to return on Nov. 18 to see how their cases will proceed...
Trial dates set in Walls murder (10/29/13)
A Bedford County jury will hear a murder-for-hire case starting next May, while another case was delayed until December. May 1-9 have been set aside for four defendants charged with plotting the death of Larry Walls Sr., who was found dead last August in his Unionville home...
Driver in wreck faces jail (10/22/13)
A Unionville woman will spend several months in jail after pleading guilty to killing a man in a traffic accident last year. Kimberly Wilmhoff Mason, 54, of Halls Mill Road, admitted running her three-quarter ton pickup into the rear of a Honda Accord on Union Street. Rogelio Anica, 33, of Shelbyville, who was in the Honda, died at the scene...
Attorney named for murder suspect (10/09/13)
The public defender's office will be representing a man accused of beating a Shelbyville resident to death last month. Ronnie Dwayne Osler, 46, formerly of Jackson, is charged with criminal homicide in the death of 23-year-old Jonathan Cody Minnick, and is being held on no bond...
Animation may limit porn charges (10/08/13)
A former youth minister already accused of seducing a member of the church's youth group had a court date set last week for new charges of possessing child pornography. But an issue over the nature of some of the images could lead to fewer counts against him...
Murder suspects' words questioned (10/02/13)
A judge will rule later this week if statements made by suspects in a murder-for-hire case can be used as evidence. Attorneys for Sean Gearhardt, 21 and Jason Starrick, 26, both of Antioch, and Susan Walls, 54, were attempting to suppress evidence in the case surrounding the death of murder victim Larry Walls Sr., who was found dead last August in his Unionville home...
Porn found on former youth pastor's phone (09/20/13)
Accusations of possession of child pornography were leveled against a former minister already accused of seducing a member of his church's youth group. Joseph Todd Neill, 37, was charged by direct indictment by the Bedford County grand jury with sexual exploitation of a minor after 90 images containing minors engaged in sexual activity were allegedly discovered on cell phones he owns. None are of members of the youth group, investigators said...
Marlow to continue defending Claxton (09/20/13)
A Shelbyville attorney will continue to defend a man accused of plotting to kill his wife and another individual. David Lee Claxton, 59, of Warners Bridge Road was arraigned Thursday on charges of attempted first degree murder and solicitation of first degree murder...
Cook burned as heat too hot (09/12/13)
A former Bedford County Jail cook faces a preliminary hearing next month for allegedly having sexual contact with an inmate. On Wednesday, Lisa Jean Robinson of Manchester made her second court appearance for an alleged June 26 incident. Robinson allegedly entered a storeroom with a male inmate, according to an affidavit signed by Detective Sgt. Charles Kimbril of the Bedford County Sheriff's Department...
Magistrate: Dismiss lawsuit against Celebration (09/10/13)
A federal magistrate is recommending the dismissal of a $10 million lawsuit against the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration and its board of directors. Last month, Nathanael L. Jackson, Jennie D. Jackson of Cookeville and Natalie B. Jackson-Pritchard of Villa Rica, Ga., each filed a federal civil rights suit against the Celebration and nine others...
Civil rights suit filed against Celebration (09/05/13)
A long-time exhibitor in -- and critic of -- the Tennessee walking horse industry, and two other family members have filed a multi-million dollar federal civil rights suit against the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration and members of its board of directors...
Murder suspect shows, lawyer doesn't (08/25/13)
A man indicted for a double murder-for-hire plot will appear next month and discover who will be representing him in Circuit Court. The Bedford County grand jury indicted David Lee Claxton, 59, of Warners Bridge Road on charges of attempted first degree murder and solicitation of first degree murder...
Crowders allowed to keep 2 dogs (08/21/13)
Charges of animal cruelty against a Shelbyville couple are still pending, but they will be getting two of their dogs back. The rest are to be put up for adoption. Meanwhile, more than $4,000 in donations from a Nashville organization have made the Shelbyville animal control office's job much easier...