SF man pleads to lesser charge

SF man pleads to lesser charge

Posted: Thursday, January 13, 2011 9:03 pm

By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
An Obion County man charged with assaulting South Fulton’s fire chief has entered a plea to a lesser charge and been sentenced to serve 10 days in jail.
Timothy Allen Cranick, 44, appeared late this morning in Obion County General Sessions Court, where Judge Jimmy Smith accepted a best interest plea of guilty to an amended charge of misdemeanor simple assault.
The amended charge was offered after numerous discussions between the district attorney’s office, represented in court by Assistant District Attorney Heard Critchlow, and Cranick’s attorney, Charles Kelly.
Cranick was originally charged with aggravated assault after allegedly hitting South Fulton Fire Chief David Wilds after a September 2010 fire at his parents’ property, where firefighters from the city department were unable to respond because a rural fire subscription fee had not been paid.
He initially appeared in court Oct. 12 for a preliminary hearing but the proceedings were rescheduled for Dec. 14 due to an issue with the availability of some witnesses. Then, on Dec. 14, the hearing was rescheduled again and reset for today after the court learned there was a delay with some paperwork filed in the case.
Court actually began at 10 a.m. today but Cranick’s case wasn’t called until 11:15 after additional discussion of the matter this morning between legal counsel and all those involved, as well as the disposition of several other people’s cases.
Smith explained that his accepting the plea means Cranick waives his right to a trial. He said while the best interest plea is not an admission of a criminal act, it means Cranick is willing to accept the sentence being offered.
Cranick was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days, with 10 days to be served in jail and a period of probation to follow. He will receive credit for any jail time already served and was given until Feb. 23 at 9 a.m. to pay court costs in the matter.
Smith said the court reserves the issue of medical expenses in the case and it will be reviewed at a later date if it is not resolved.
Smith said the incident has been “a volatile case” where emotions ran high. He urged those involved to put the matter behind them and move forward, and he also cautioned Cranick that he will face the possibility of additional jail time up to 11 months and 29 days if he violates his probation.
Pending approval by the sheriff, Cranick is scheduled to report to jail Friday at 6 p.m., the judge said.
The assault incident involving Cranick allegedly occurred about 5:45 p.m. Sept. 29 at the South Fulton Fire Department, located in the City of South Fulton’s municipal complex off Broadway.
South Fulton police reported Wilds was treated at an area hospital after being assaulted and Cranick, a resident of Buddy Jones Road near South Fulton, was arrested and charged with felony aggravated assault. Police said the assault apparently stemmed from a fire that broke out around 2:30 p.m. that day at the home of Cranick’s parents, Gene and Paulette Cranick, on Buddy Jones Road.
South Fulton Police Chief Andy Crocker said Timothy Cranick allegedly came to the fire station looking for Wilds, according to witnesses. When the fire chief identified himself and asked if he could help him, Cranick allegedly struck Wilds.
Crocker reported Wilds was knocked down, rendering him virtually defenseless. He said Cranick was pulled off the fire chief by other firefighters who restrained him until police arrived.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at cmenees@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 1.13.11

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