Former New Market police officer surrenders to jail
A former New Market police officer, who was indicted in August for attempted child rape, solicitation of child rape and official misconduct, surrendered Monday at the Jefferson County Jail, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Joseph Ray Miller, 43, was charged in May with solicitation of a minor after District Attorney James Dunn requested a criminal inquiry when an allegation surfaced that Miller had attempted to arrange a sexual encounter with a female under the age of 13. Miller was subsequently fired.
“As part of the ongoing investigation, agents developed information that Miller attempted to solicit an underage girl for sex on more than one occasion,” at TBI press release states.
The investigation included also included TBI agents, officers with the 4th Judicial Drug Task Force, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and criminal investigators with the DA’s office and the Knoxville Police Department.
Grainger County man enters guilty plea to federal gun charges
A Grainger County man named in a bare-bones federal crystal-meth indictment returned by a Knoxville grand jury in July on Monday filed a bare-bones plea agreement, according to court documents.
Travis Stansberry, 38, admitted he will plead guilty to conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of crystal meth. In exchange for the plea on the drug county, federal prosecutors dropped charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possessing an unregistered suppressor, or firearm silencer.
In March and April 2015, Stansberry sold meth to informants five times. He later admitted he sold more than a half-pound of meth, according to his plea agreement. Stansberry is the No. 3 defendant in a three-defendant conspiracy allegedly headed by Russell Merwin.
Lawmaker clarifies higher education comments
NASHVILLE (AP) — A Republican Tennessee lawmaker says he was clearly joking when he called in a radio broadcast for the abolishment of higher education in order to cut off the “liberal breeding ground.”
However, Sen. Kerry Roberts of Springfield said in a statement Tuesday that he stands behind his critique of liberal arts education in America “one hundred percent.”
Roberts initially spoke in favor of eliminating higher education while speaking about attending a recent abortion legislative hearing on his conservative radio talk show on Sept. 2.
The comments were floated on social media by The Tennessee Holler, a progressive-leaning organization. Roberts has since said his listeners understood it was hyperbole.
The Republican lawmaker says conservatives should demand balance in higher education institutions and that “leftist policies” are growing more aggressive.
Assisted living facility fined, admissions halted
NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee’s health commissioner has suspended admissions for an assisted living care facility after an investigation found several violations.
Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said in a news release Monday that The Terrace at Mountain Creek in Chattanooga was ordered not to admit any new residents. The release says investigators found violations at the 120-bed facility related to resident medication, admissions, medical records, plans of care and other issues.
The facility has been fined $26,000 and a special monitor has been appointed to review its operations.
Admissions to an assisted living facility may be suspended when conditions are detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of residents.
The facility has the right to a hearing regarding the admissions suspension before the Board for Licensing Health Care Facilities or an administrative judge.
Mississippi governor signs extradition warrant in Walmart killing
SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s governor has signed an extradition warrant for the 39-year-old man accused of killing two managers at a Walmart and then setting a fire there.
WMC-TV of Memphis, Tennessee, reported Monday that Gov. Phil Bryant signed the warrant for arrest of Martez Abram, who is fighting extradition from Shelby County.
He was hospitalized in Memphis after being shot by police in the Mississippi suburb of Southaven.
Officials in Southaven say the warrant also needs the signature of Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee to get Abram back to Mississippi.
Abram’s next hearing is set for Sept. 13. He’s charged with murder in the shooting of 40-year-old Anthony Brown and 38-year-old Brandon Gales on July 30.
Authorities have said Abram was suspended from his job at the Walmart the day before the shootings.
Sentence reduced for man convicted in couple’s 2007 killing
KNOXVILLE (AP) — A plea deal has shortened the sentence of a man convicted in the case of a couple who was kidnapped, tortured and killed in a 2007 carjacking in Tennessee.
News outlets report 36-year-old George Thomas was resentenced Monday in Knoxville to 50 years in prison with the possibility of parole. Thomas testified against co-defendant Eric Boyd who was found guilty last month in the deaths of 21-year-old Channon Christian and her boyfriend 23-year-old Christopher Newsom.
Newsom’s parents thanked Thomas for his testimony. Boyd had been serving an 18-year sentence for harboring a fugitive. He’ll be sentenced Sept. 18 on for the new conviction.
Thomas’ first-degree murder charge was reduced to second-degree murder, and rape charges were reduced to aggravated assault. He could be released in as little as 37 years.