Crime across the state – 1.12.12

Crime across the state – 1.12.12

Posted: Monday, January 16, 2012 1:13 pm

Man pleads guilty to girlfriend’s murder
Nashville (AP) – A man has pleaded guilty in Nashville to the murder of his girlfriend, whose badly burned body was discovered in August 2010.
Adrian Henry was sentenced Wednesday to 40 years in prison for the slaying of Saret Vit, a restaurant worker.
The autopsy showed she had head trauma and was likely strangled. According to WTVF-TV, police believe she was dead before being set on fire ( ).
Her body was found in a field north of downtown. Police said Henry had burned skin on his face and right arm when they interviewed him.

TBI investigating
former deputy
Athens (AP) — A former McMinn County deputy is being investigated on a complaint related to prescription drugs confiscated during traffic stops.
Sheriff Joe Guy said he received a complaint Nov. 5 that prescription medications had possibly been taken during traffic stops.
Guy said allegations against Justin Hester were serious enough for him to immediately contact the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm confirmed an investigation to the Daily Post Athenian ( ).
Helm said the investigation is ongoing and will be turned over to the district attorney’s office for review when finished.
Hester resigned his position Dec. 1 after working with the sheriff’s office since 2008.
A sheriff’s office dispatcher said Wednesday that she did not know how to contact Hester and records do not show a telephone listing.

Former firefighter
tried in killing
Memphis (AP) — A former Memphis firefighter is on trial, charged with first-degree murder in the killing of his former fiancée.
Paul Springer is accused of fatally shooting Taffi Crawford as she arrived for her nursing shift at Delta Medical Center nearly two years ago, according to The Commercial Appeal (
Springer told police he didn’t mean to shoot Crawford, only to scare her because he believed she was dating someone else.
Crawford’s killing was one of 24 criminal homicides that Memphis Police attributed to domestic violence in 2010.
Springer’s trial continued Wednesday before Criminal Court Judge Chris Craft.

Woman charged with rape of girls
Maryville (AP) — A former youth leader at a Maryville church has been indicted on sex charges involving young girls.
The charges were returned Monday against Laura Lee Salazar, whose husband pleaded guilty to similar charges in 2010, according to The Daily Times (
The couple were youth ministers at a church called Lord’s Disciples Ministries of Whosoever Will. Authorities said the victims of the sex crimes were three girls older than 13, but younger than 18.
Laura Salazar has been free on bond since September 2008. She will face charges of conspiracy to commit statutory rape by an authority figure, statutory rape by an authority figure and sexual battery by an authority figure.
Michael Roy Salazar was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Burglary suspect
wounded by policeman
Chattanooga (AP) — A man has been wounded in an exchange of gunfire with Chattanooga police responding to a burglary call at a residence.
Chattanooga police said in a statement that officers encountered two men who fired at them when they responded to a call from neighbors Tuesday afternoon. At least one of the officers returned gunshots, and 25-year-old Christopher Upshaw was wounded in the “face-neck area.”
Upshaw was in stable condition at a hospital. Following a short pursuit on foot, he and 20-year-old Jermichael Nicholson were taken into custody.
The statement said the officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative, which is routine in such cases.
A police spokeswoman said she did not know if either of the two men already has a lawyer.

Todd’s DUI, gun arrest hearing delayed
Nashville (AP) — State Rep. Curry Todd’s hearing on charges of drunken driving and carrying a loaded handgun while intoxicated has been delayed until next month.
The Collierville Republican was arrested in a neighborhood near Vanderbilt and Belmont universities on Oct. 11.
Todd is a retired Memphis police officer and the main architect of a new state law allowing handgun carry permit holders to be armed in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.
He stepped down as chairman of the House State and Local Government Committee after his arrest.

Grandmother charged with hiring hit man
Erin (AP) — A 70-year-old Middle Tennessee grandmother is charged with attempting to hire the murder of her husband.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Imajean Lowery offered an undercover agent $5,000 to kill her husband so she could get his life insurance benefit.
TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said Lowery put out feelers in Houston County, seeking a hit man, and she made the offer to the agent on her front porch over the weekend.
Helm said the agent gave her the chance to back out, but she insisted she was desperate for money. She was listed among inmates Tuesday morning at the Houston County Jail, where records didn’t show whether she had an attorney.
Neighbors told WKRN-TV Lowery had financial problems after her grandson was charged with arson (

Woman charged with stealing police car
Memphis (AP) — Police in Memphis say a woman stole a police car while the officer was out of it, chasing her 12-year-old daughter.
The incident occurred Sunday afternoon when police were dispatched to arrest Cynthia G. Stewart, who is accused of taking her daughter from state custody without permission, according to The Commercial Appeal (
As an officer talked to Stewart, the daughter ran. The officer gave chase on foot and other officers joined in and caught the girl.
Police said Stewart got in the police car and drove away when she saw police had her daughter. The car was found abandoned about two miles away.
An officer arrested Stewart after she flagged down a car and got in, but the driver refused to take her away.

WCP 1.12.12

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