Crime across the region
Posted: Friday, November 11, 2011 8:02 pm
after house fire
Knoxville (AP) — Authorities are investigating a house fire in Cocke County where a man’s body was discovered in the ruins.
Sheriff Armando Fontes said there was no indication that anyone was in the home when firefighters extinguished the blaze the night of Nov. 4. However the body was found during an investigation of the fire at the rental house the next day.
The body was sent to the University of Tennessee Medical Center for an autopsy.
Positive identification of the body has not been made and WATE-TV quoted Fontes who said it wasn’t immediately clear whether the victim died in the fire or if the fire was set to cover up a crime.
Purse snatch suspect caught by shrubs
Johnson City (AP) — Police in Johnson City say a purse snatcher didn’t get far before becoming entangled in shrubbery.
A city police report stated officers arrested 18-year-old Cody Scott Smith after a woman’s purse was grabbed from her shopping cart at Rugged Warehouse. The report, cited by The Johnson City Press, states the victim gave chase and that Smith got stuck in some shrubs outside the store as he tried to run away.
The report said Smith handed the wallet back to the owner and apologized for taking it.
Police charged Smith on Sunday with theft, drug paraphernalia possession and identity theft.
Officers also arrested 19-year-old Brett L. Dixon of Bristol.
Jail records don’t show whether they have attorneys. Both were still held Wednesday morning.
Murder charged in motorcycle death
Paducah, Ky. (AP) — McCracken County authorities have charged a man with murder five months after a motorcycle crash killed his teenage passenger.
Kira Bryant, who was 14, died at a Tennessee hospital three days after the June 13 crash.
The McCracken County Sheriff’s Office has now filed a murder charge against 38-year-old Jamison K. Turney of Paducah.
The decision was based on facts uncovered during the investigation, including Turney’s blood-alcohol level being above the legal limit and the fact that the teen was allowed to ride without a helmet, according to The Paducah Sun.
Turney was booked Tuesday into the McCracken County Jail, where records don’t show whether he has an attorney.
He was later released on $50,000 bond.
The victim died at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville.
boyfriend life term
Memphis (AP) — A dying woman’s words to a paramedic mean her boyfriend won’t spend life in prison in her shooting.
A plea agreement under which Jarvis Payne pleaded guilty to second-degree murder brought him a 15-year sentence pronounced by Shelby County Criminal Court Judge W. Mark Ward on Tuesday.
The prosecutor told the court Laporsha Hailey told a paramedic that Payne didn’t mean to shoot her, according to The Commercial Appeal.
Payne was 20 when the shooting occurred two years ago. He said he and Hailey were awakened by a noise and he got up to see if there was a burglar. He told investigators someone came from behind a shower curtain and he started shooting only to find he had shot his girlfriend.
Airport police officer shot in hand
Nashville (AP) — A police officer has been accidentally shot in the hand at Nashville International Airport.
The officer was on duty and was at the airport police headquarters when the incident occurred before dawn Wednesday, according to WKRN-TV. The officer was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries.
His name and details of the incident weren’t immediately released.
Two courts back
TDOT suspension of
Nashville (AP) — Two courts in Nashville have backed a decision by state transportation officials to bar two guardrail companies that were implicated in corruption investigations from bidding on projects.
Lu Inc. and Tennessee Guardrail contend in separate lawsuits that their suspensions weren’t proper.
Lu Inc. owner and president Novice Cole has acknowledged giving a Tennessee Department of Transportation supervisor $30,000 as the TDOT worker oversaw a 2005 Interstate 65 widening project in Nashville.
Cole has not been criminally charged and claimed in his lawsuit that the suspension of his Kingston Springs-based company violated terms of a 2006 agreement he reached with TDOT, according to The Tennessean .
The state argued before Davidson County Chancellor Russell T. Perkins that Lu’s suspension was required to preserve “public confidence in the integrity of the department’s bidding and contracting processes” and was based on evidence of irregularities” committed by Cole.
In his lawsuit, Cole noted the payments to the TDOT supervisor occurred in 2005, and he held that a one-year bidding suspension should be overturned.
He contended the 2006 settlement with TDOT keeps the state from punishing him for anything the state knew about at the time of the agreement.
In arguments on Oct. 14, Assistant Attorney General Frank Borger-Gilligan said the 2006 settlement only resolved specific allegations that guardrail posts were improperly cut and that the state was improperly billed.
“The underlying issues are different,” Borger-Gilligan said. “The basis of the current suspension involves allegations of bribery.”
Knoxville-based Tennessee Guardrail filed the other lawsuit.
Company Vice President Kevin Eugene Peel and company founder Allen Roy DeFoe are accused of destroying records requested by a federal grand jury in 2006.
The department’s decision to suspend the company was because Peel remains a company officer. The department has declined the company’s request for an administrative hearing on the charges.
“We believe this suspension violates Tennessee Guardrail’s constitutional rights because its employee was indicted; Tennessee Guardrail was not,” Nashville attorney Courtney Smith argued for Tennessee Guardrail at an Oct. 26 hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Kevin H. Sharp.
Sharp ruled for TDOT, noting “the Government has a strong interest in the integrity of its contractors and of the officers whose conduct may be imputed to those contractors, as well as the proper expenditure of public funds.”