FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 27, 2017
(Nashville, TN)—The man convicted of aggravated arson in connection with a fire at a Nashville hotel will have to spend the next three decades in prison. Judge Monte Watkins sentenced Antoine Clark to 30 years in prison on Friday for setting fire to the Harding Inn. Two people were trapped on a fourth floor balcony when the fire spread. They were able to escape thanks to the heroic efforts of several Nashville firefighters.
Deputy District Attorney Roger Moore said but for the actions of the firefighters, this could have been a murder case. “It’s bad enough that they risk their lives fighting accidental fires but when a fire is intentionally set the perpetrator deserves to spend a significant amount of time in prison.” Clark, 31, will have to serve 100% of his 30-year prison sentence.
“Thank you to the jury who heard this case and to the men and women of the Nashville Fire Department who risk their lives daily for the citizens of this community,” Moore said.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 3, 2017
(Nashville, TN) One of three men charged in the 2015 murder of Luis Diaz, 23, pled guilty Thursday and will spend the next four decades in prison. James Jaylen Simmons was set to stand trial later this month for the robbery and shooting death of Diaz. Simmons pled guilty to Second Degree Murder and was sentenced to 40 years in prison at 100%. A relative reported Diaz missing on July 8, 2015 when he failed to return home from his job at a Murfreesboro Road Sonic restaurant. The victim’s vehicle was located in Hopkinsville, Kentucky six days after his disappearance. Detectives discovered that Simmons shot Diaz inside the vehicle while on Anderson Road in South Nashville and later dumped his body on a farm in Rockvale, Tennessee. Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman read the following victim impact statement from Luis Diaz’s family:
“Luis was a very friendly, happy, social person. He would always find time to help those that needed help. He started working at a very young age to help out with expenses at home. Everything that he earned he would give to his mother. Like all young kids, he had great dreams which he now will never be able to accomplish because his life was taken. His mother misses him very much. She suffers from his death and has not been able to move on with her life, she misses her “little Luis” every day. His mother taught him to forgive those who had wronged him and to help those that need help the most. Luis’s mother has forgiven those who killed him, her youngest son, and wishes them blessings because she is not the ultimate judge, life will ensure that they are judged and held accountable. Luis’ mother feels sorry for the families of those who killed him, because they too are suffering like her. Today as a representative of Luis’ mother and family, and as his uncle, we forgive those who killed Luis, because hatred begets hatred. We rather continue our lives with a healing heart, attempting happiness and most of all with a clean conscience.”
Co-defendant Joshua Smith, who worked with Diaz at the Sonic restaurant, is scheduled to stand trial on October 16. A third co-defendant, Xavier Young, is also charged with First Degree Murder but has not yet been scheduled for trial.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 16, 2017
(Nashville, TN) District Attorney Glenn Funk today instituted a policy to request the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) to investigate all Nashville cases where officer related use of force results in death. General Funk, along with TBI Director Mark Gwyn, announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the DA’s Office and the TBI, effective immediately, which calls for the TBI to investigate all officer-involved use of force deaths. Other officer-involved shootings will be reviewed on a case by case basis and may be referred to the TBI.
In conjunction with today’s announcement, General Funk submitted paperwork for the TBI to take over the investigation into the incident involving Officer Lippert and Jocques Clemmons on February 10, 2017. General Funk emphasized his confidence that the police department investigation to date has been handled expertly and appropriately.
“For Nashville to remain safe, law enforcement must maintain public trust from all segments of the community,” General Funk said. “Historically, the Metro Nashville Police Department has investigated their own officer involved shootings. Our police department is well trained and professional. Metro Nashville Police Department investigators have great integrity. The investigations performed by the Metro Nashville Police Department are expedient and transparent. However, best practices from around the country require that these investigations must also be independent. Only independent investigations foster the community confidence required for public safety.”
“Certainly, we face some challenges, as we now begin our work six days after this incident,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn. “Due diligence, however, requires us to start at the beginning in this-and every-investigation. Still, we remain confident in our ability to investigate this case with the integrity, openness, and professionalism it demands.”
The 2015 report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommended mandatory external and independent criminal investigations in cases where police use of force results in death.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 13, 2017
(Nashville, TN)—A Davidson County jury has returned guilty verdicts against a Nashville man who raped and sexually abused two young girls who were placed in his care for several years. Rodney Robinson, 48, was found guilty Thursday on the following charges:
- Aggravated Sexual Battery –5 counts
- Rape of a Child–4 counts
- Attempted Rape of a Child–1 count
- Sexual Battery by an Authority Figure–2 counts
- Rape–2 counts
The victims’ lived with the defendant and his wife for eight years. Assistant District Attorney Megan King said the abuse happened from the time the girls were 10 until they were removed from the home at age 14. “They were finally removed from the home because the defendant whipped one of the victims with a belt and those marks were seen by her friend at school who reported it to a teacher,” King said. “The girls thought this behavior was normal – it is what dads do – so they didn’t disclose until one of the victims was given an examination at Vanderbilt and the nurse asked if anyone ever touched her “down there.” It was only then, after seeing the nurse’s reaction, did she realize what he was doing was not normal father behavior.” Robinson faces a minimum of 25 years in prison. He is not eligible for probation. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 29, 2017 at 1:00 p.m.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 3, 2017
(Nashville, TN)— A Davidson County jury has returned guilty verdicts against two men charged with killing a Tennessee State University student in 2015. Defendants William Lawrence and Tyjuan Wallace were both found guilty of First Degree Felony Murder for the shooting death of Eric Jackson, Jr. Testimony during the three-day trial showed that the defendants approached Jackson as he and a friend sat in his car near Hadley Park before attending the African Street Festival. Assistant District Attorney Doug Thurman said Jackson, 21, was shot in the head as he tried to drive away from the defendants after an attempted robbery. “These defendants showed no consideration for the life of a young man who was committed to his studies at TSU and had a full life ahead of him. We are pleased that the jury has helped bring justice for the family and get these dangerous men off the streets of Nashville,” Thurman said.
Metro Police Detectives Andrew Davis and Chad Gish left no stone unturned as they discovered incriminating text messages that allowed for the conviction.
Judge Cheryl Blackburn sentenced both defendants to life in prison.
(Nashville, TN)—A Davidson County jury has returned guilty verdicts against a Nashville man on two counts of Aggravated Rape. Larry Hopkins, 56, was convicted on Tuesday of raping a woman at knifepoint after soliciting her for sex. The victim admitted she was working as a prostitute but when she tried to leave the defendant’s vehicle, he punched her in the face, held a knife to her throat, and raped her repeatedly. Deputy District Attorney Amy Hunter asked jurors to see the victim for who she is, not what she had done in the past. “When little girls grow up, they dream of being princesses and wearing tiaras. They don’t dream of walking the streets of south Nashville and selling themselves to men like Larry Hopkins. The defendant was in control of this situation and control is what rape is all about,” said Hunter.
Larry Hopkins faces 25 to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced on February 16.
Most women who have worked in prostitution report having been beaten and raped at some point while on the streets. For information on escaping prostitution and trafficking visit www.thistlefarms.org or www.endslaverytn.org. January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
What are the social and economic impacts of Domestic Abuse? That is the subject of this year’s Teen Essay Contest sponsored by the Nashville Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The contest is open to all current Davidson County High School students. Winners will receive cash prizes and will be recognized at the Meet Us at the Bridge event on October 1st! Visit the link below for details.
(Nashville, TN)–District Attorney Glenn Funk has announced the appointment of Ardath Griffin to the position of Assistant District Attorney in the Domestic Violence Division. A 2015 graduate of Belmont University School of Law, Griffin was sworn in on April 19, 2016 by Criminal Court Judge Steve Dozier. She previously served as a staff attorney and intern in the Juvenile Division of the DA’s Office.
“General Griffin brings an energy and advocacy to the DA’s Office that will greatly assist victims and ensure perpetrators of domestic violence are held accountable,” District Attorney Funk said.
Griffin also adds to the diversity in the office which has been a priority for District Attorney Funk who believes that true diversity leads to true justice. Funk has appointed the largest number of Latino and African-American attorneys in office history, as well as the appointments of minorities to other key leadership positions.
“I am honored by the opportunity to serve in the District Attorney’s Office and I look forward to contributing to the efforts already being made toward improving the lives of Davidson County residents,” Griffin said.
Griffin is a native of Ohio and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a concentration in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati.
Ardath Griffin sworn in
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 18, 2016
(Nashville, TN) District Attorney Glenn Funk has made an historic appointment in naming the first Latino Assistant District Attorney to serve in Davidson County Criminal Court. General Lody Limbird has been assigned to Division VI Criminal Court where she handles prosecution of domestic violence cases with a special interest in aggravated assault by strangulation. A native of Colombia, South America, General Limbird is a graduate of Nashville School of Law and Middle Tennessee State University. “It is an honor and a great responsibility to be named the first Latina ADA appointed to Criminal Court,” General Limbird said. “In order to understand the needs of the people we serve, it is important for public servants to also reflect the diversity of the community.”
General Funk has been committed to increasing diversity in the DA’s Office by appointing the largest number of Latino and African-American attorneys in office history, as well as the appointments of minorities to other key leadership positions. “If our office can reflect the diversity of our community, then members of the community will trust that they will be treated fairly. True diversity leads to true justice,” Funk said.
General Limbird is one of eleven lawyers representing Nashville’s rich diversity. Prior to joining the DA’s Office, Limbird worked as a legal secretary for the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence and as an assistant at Room in the Inn at the Campus for Human Development.First Latino Criminal Court appointment
(Nashville, TN)-In honor and memory of Nashvillians whose lives have been impacted by crime, the Davidson County Crime Victims’ Rights Week ceremony will be held on April 10, 2016 at Centennial Park. The event is an opportunity for victims and their families to show unity and empowerment. The theme of this year’s observance is, Serving Victims Building Trust Restoring Hope. Families who have lost loved ones to homicide will be able to place a photo on the homicide memory board which will be on display at the downtown library April 8-17, 2016.
WHAT: Crime Victims’ Right Week
WHEN: Sunday, April 10, 2016
WHERE: Centennial Park (covered pavilion close to Park Plaza)
2500 West End Avenue
Nashville, TN 37203
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is April 10-16, 2016. The Nashville ceremony will include testimony from survivors who will share their stories with others impacted by crime. The event is sponsored by several Nashville nonprofit and government agencies.
*Ceremony will close with a balloon release at the Children’s Memorial Garden across from the Parthenon. Balloons will be provided.
Crime Victims’ Rights Week