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Thursday, Sep. 3, 2015

Kidnap-rape suspect refuses deal, faces trial

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Tullahoma man accused of a 2002 kidnapping and rape will go to trial next month after refusing to plead guilty on Monday.

James Lynne Stewart, 52, of South Anderson Street, Tullahoma will go to trial on May 24 on charges of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated rape, aggravated assault and theft over $500 in connection with an alleged incident in 2002.

Stewart is represented in the case by attorney Robert Marlow, who told his client that a plea deal was offered that included a sentence of 15 years, but Stewart refused to accept the deal.

According to warrants filed in General Sessions Court, Stewart allegedly raped a woman in her vehicle on Aug. 16, 2002, in Bedford County.

The warrant read that "during this confinement, he (Stewart) did assault the victim and she did suffer serious bodily injury. Her left cheek was fractured and also did require three stitches and also required a stitch in her nose."

The warrant stated the victim "also had bruising, cuts and scrapes all about her head area."

The vehicle was allegedly taken from the victim in the Normandy area and found abandoned in the Bi-Lo parking lot in Tullahoma the next day by Tullahoma police, the warrants allege.

Randles said that another Tullahoma man, Chris Grunder, was apprehended the day after the incident by authorities and was later convicted and sentenced to 29 years in prison.

Stewart was scheduled to stand trial last December on the charges, but an agreed order signed at that time resulted in a continuance in the case "so that the state of Tennessee may have DNA testing done on certain physical evidence."

A retest of the rape kit from 2002 had been requested and will be completed by a private company instead of going through the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation crime lab, assistant district attorney Mike Randles said at the time.

Randles said that DNA testing currently available is better than it was previously and that the new test may detect evidence that was overlooked before.

Stewart is being held at Bedford County Jail under $190,000 bond and already had 20 days in jail tacked on for contempt after making remarks and walking away from Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler's questioning about his legal representation during his arraignment last June.