Crime across the state – 3.29.12
Posted: Friday, March 30, 2012 8:00 pm
Ex-guard appears in court on escape plot charges
Nashville (AP) — A former correctional officer was in court Wednesday on charges related to a plot to break out Tennessee’s lone female death row inmate, Christa Gail Pike.
Justin Heflin, of Chattanooga, was indicted last month on bribery, official misconduct, conspiracy to commit escape and facilitation to commit escape. The former correctional officer at the Tennessee Prison for Women is accused of taking money and gifts from another man, Donald Kohut, of Flemington, N.J., to help in a scheme to let Pike escape.
Heflin, who has been released on bond, did not speak during his arraignment in Nashville on Wednesday, but his attorney, James R. Potter, of Clarksville, said his client reserved entering a plea.
Kohut, who was arrested last week in New Jersey, has not yet been extradited to Tennessee.
Tenn. has Stand Your Ground self-defense law
Nashville (AP) — Tennessee is one of at least 20 states that have the “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law that has been at the center of a national debate since a neighborhood watchman killed an unarmed teenager in Florida last month.
The laws, which are sometimes called the “Make My Day” law or the “Shoot First” law, say people have no duty to retreat from confrontations outside their home and can use deadly force to protect themselves.
The law here says people can use deadly force anywhere — inside or out — provided they have “a reasonable belief that there is an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.” Supporters of Tennessee’s law and others like it say the statute is necessary so law-abiding citizens can defend themselves when confronted by criminals.
Opponents of the law say it gives the legal blessing to commit murder and innocent people, like the teen in Florida, are often the ones who wind up dead.