Teen pleads to voluntary manslaughter
Posted: Monday, August 2, 2010 9:05 pm
By: Chris Menees, Staff Reporter
By CHRIS MENEES
An Obion County teen-ager accused of fatally shooting his father has been sentenced to six years’ probation after entering a guilty plea to a lesser charge.
Clifford Joseph “C.J.” Putman, 18, pled guilty in Obion County Circuit Court to a charge of voluntary manslaughter — a Class C felony — and was given six years’ judicial diversion, with probation for six years.
The plea was entered July 23 in Judge Bill Acree’s court, Obion County Circuit Court Clerk Harry Johnson confirmed today when contacted by The Messenger.
Under Tennessee statutes, judicial diversion allows someone to complete a probationary term, after which time the court might allow the charges against them to be expunged from their record if they satisfactorily complete the probation without any problems.
Putman was originally indicted in June on a charge of second-degree murder stemming from the January death of his father, 40-year-old Vernon Dale Putman Jr. His case had been transferred from juvenile court to adult court in April after Putman turned 18.
He was previously arraigned in early February in juvenile court, where a juvenile petition was initially filed to charge the then-17-year-old boy with a delinquent act, authorities said.
The charge in the case resulted from a shooting incident that occurred about 11 p.m. Jan. 28 at the family’s home at 1809 Wade Wiley Road, southwest of Union City.
Obion County Sheriff Jerry Vastbinder reported the morning after the shooting that it appeared the incident started out as a family dispute between the elder Putman and his teenage son. He reported the elder Putman allegedly became more irritated, picked up a rifle and had the teenager kneel down on the floor, at which time he allegedly pointed the gun at the boy. He did not fire, however, and allegedly then turned the weapon and pointed it at his wife of 20 years, Polly (Eakin) Putman. The gun reportedly misfired and Mrs. Putman apparently fled to the back of the residence.
According to the sheriff, Putman allegedly got another gun, went outside and fired several rounds into a car. When he came back into the home, the teenager allegedly shot Putman twice.
Putman, who had worked as a towboat captain, was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported.
Published in The Messenger 8.2.10