Retirement of a true Tennessee Public Servant and the hiring of two new Assistant District Attorneys

RETIREMENT ANNOUNCEMENT PLUS WELCOME TO TWO NEW ADA’S

We are sad to report that after 5 years of service, Robert Jones will be retiring at the end of September.  Robert served in the Shelby County Public Defender’s office (Memphis) for most of his career, and as the Chief Public Defender in Shelby County from 2004-2012.

During his time in this office, he served as the head of the Crimes Against Children Unit before founding the Conviction Review Unit. We are grateful for his service, not only to the citizens of Nashville, but to the people of Tennessee.

 

Sunny Eaton will be joining the office on September 1 and taking over the Conviction Review Unit.  Sunny has great judgement and a deep understanding of criminal justice issues.  Sunny will be a great benefit to the office and the CRU.

 

 

 

 

Finally, after 4 years of recruiting, Chicoya Gallman joined our office on August 1.  Chicoya is a UT alum and Belmont Law School graduate who has been working in private practice.  Since Chicoya interned here when she was in law school, many of us already know Chicoya and we are so excited that she decided to become an ADA.

Former Bus Driver convicted in Chattanooga pleads guilty in Nashville on Statutory Rape charges

Johnthony Walker has pleaded guilty to aggravated statutory rape, Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk said on Thursday, September 3rd, 2020.  Walker, who was previously convicted in a 2016 Hamilton County school bus crash that killed six children, will serve an additional six years in prison once he has completed his four-year sentence for criminally negligent homicide.  Metro police said in 2018 Walker admitted to having sex with a 14-year-old on five occasions. He had been staying with the victim’s family while his Hamilton County conviction was being appealed.  The judge in Walker’s case allowed him to be out on bond during the appeal process and encouraged him to stay outside of Chattanooga after he received death threats.  Once he was charged with aggravated statutory rape, a motion was filed in Hamilton County to revoke his bond.  In addition to the jail time, Walker must file as a registered sex offender.

Looking back at a big verdict from earlier this year: A Guilty Verdict in a Double Homicide for Division I

CONGRATULATIONS to Assistant District Attorney Kate Boston Melby, Criminal Court Division I Team Leader Wesley King, and their team for a recent DOUBLE HOMICIDE CONVICTION.
On March 2nd of this year, 38-year-old Marcus Perry was found guilty for the murders of 21-year-old John T. Morrow and 38-year-old Abdinasir Jimale. It took the jury only 1.5 hours to convict Perry of gunning down the 21-year-old Morrow at Club Kilimanjaro on September 25th of 2016 following an argument. Morrow was celebrating his 21st birthday when the shooting occurred, and Jimale was a bystander at the club. Club Kilimanjaro, which had a history of violence and complaints, was padlocked and demolished shortly after the murders.
This was ADA Kate Boston Melby’s first First-Chair Murder Trial, and a double homicide at that. As Team Leader General Wesley King said in a memo to Kate (and copied to Nashville District Attorney General Glenn Funk): “Double murders don’t come around very often. The prosecution through jury trial of these types of cases is extremely rare … (Kate) not only shepherded the case through jury trial, but obtained convictions on the indicted offenses…..
• 1st degree premeditated murder for the death of John T. Morrow
• 1st degree premeditated murder for the death of Abdinasir Jimale
• 1st degree felony murder for the death of Abdinasir Jimale in the process of killing/attempting to kill John Morrow
• Felon in possession of a weapon
An automatic life sentence of 60 years behind bars was imposed for each victim.
Team Leader Wesley King added this about Kate Boston Melby and her courtroom skills: “This was a major achievement and I just want you to know how lucky the people of the community are to have such an able advocate.”
ADA Melby credits a fantastic team of professionals, including Division I Team Leader General Wesley King for his guidance, Metro Nashville Police Detectives Melody Saxon, Chad Gish, and Chad High, (and Det. Jason Moyer for last minute video work) along with District Attorney Investigator Randy Martin, Victim Witness Coordinator Cathy Harrison, and District Attorney Audio Specialist Terry Faimon, and Carina Estera for transcribing the transcripts. She also credits brave civilian witnesses who came to court and were willing to testify, despite being scared.
When law enforcement agencies and the community come together, justice is served, our city is safer, and victim’s families can begin the healing process.

Final Vanderbilt rape suspect enters plea agreement

It’s been almost five years since the news of a sexual assault on the Vanderbilt campus rocked Nashville.   Four football players were identified as suspects and charged.   Three were convicted, and last week, the final suspect, Jaborian ‘Tip’ Mackenzie admitted his guilt and entered a plea agreement.  Deputy DA Roger Moore and ADA Jan Norman stressed to the media how courageous and brave the victim in this case has been.  Here are links to the local media covering the plea agreement on May 21st.

http://www.wsmv.com/clip/14364732/4th-co-defendant-in-vanderbilt-rape-case-accepts-plea-deal.

https://www.newschannel5.com/news/final-defendant-in-vanderbilt-rape-case-expected-in-court

https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2018/05/21/vanderbilt-rape-case-final-defendant-jaborian-tip-mckenzie-agrees-plea-deal/623957002/

Facebook feud leads to conviction

Defendant Shandejah Stone was found guilty of assault last week after a Facebook feud amongst former best friends led to one attacking the other in a local daycare parking lot.  The victim was slung to the ground, beaten and kicked in the face. The facts show that the defendant continued to brag about her beating on facebook after being arrested.  Assistant District Attorney Vince Wyatt spelled it all out for the jury in Criminal Court Division VI, but says this case would not have been a success if not for everyone’s involvement!   ADA Wyatt credits Victim Witness Coordinator Brittany LaDuke for fantastic witness coordinating,  investigator Steve Turner for tracking down an uncooperative eyewitness, and summer intern Luis Casas for legal research and tracking down an additional facebook video of the incident posted by the defendant.  Total team effort!

Precious Horton convicted

Aggravated robbery suspect Precious Horton was found guilty last week of two counts of aggravated robbery in what is being described as one of the quickest verdicts EVER in Davidson County!  Credit for the swift justice goes to Assistant District Attorney and Criminal Court Division III Team Leader Megan King, along with Assistant District Attorney Byron Pugh, investigator David Zoccola, and Victim Witness Coordinator Caroline Brown.  Quick Facts:  This is the so-called ’15 minute verdict’ case!  That’s the time it took for a jury to find the defendant, Precious Horton guilty on two counts of aggravated robbery.  Megan King and Byron Pugh presented a rock solid case, explaining how Horton approached the two victims at the Target in the Rivergate area three years ago, crying that her boyfriend had left her and she simply needed a ride.  Once in the car however, Horton pulled a gun, robbed the two good Samaritans, and then drove off with their car.  She was arrested days later with the victim’s car being dismantled.  Praise to Detective David Zoccola for helping track down the people involved, and also Victim Witness Coordinator Caroline Brown, who helped calmed the nerves of a witness that was very upset after testifying.  

 

Karlus Branch convicted

Defendant Karlus Branch was found guilty last week of second degree murder (Range 2) and two counts of reckless endangerment.  In her very first case of being the lead prosecutor in a murder trial, Assistant District Attorney Addie Askew was convincing in her facts and arguments.  She also credits Assistant District Attorney Joey Clifton, Victim Witness Coordinator Megan Chalk, Investigator Randy Martin, and Detective Jessie Holt from the Metro Police department.  Quick Facts:  22-year-old Karlus Branch was in the James Cayce homes in May 2016 when he claims he was confronted by Ronnie Foxx, who was there visiting his girlfriend.  Branch claimed he asked Foxx about an alleged assault when he felt ‘threatened’ and started firing his gun that he ‘always had loaded’ in his pocket.  He testified that he thought Foxx also had a gun, but when testifying, ADA Askew kept asking Branch why every witness testified that there was NO gun on the victim and no weapon was found beside his body.  The jury agreed with the state on Askew’s very first FIRST CHAIR murder case that she’s taken from indictment to verdict.  The state presented the case in a courtroom packed with emotional family members, which Megan Chalk handled with care and compassion.   Praise also goes to Investigator Randy Martin and Detective Jessie Holt for getting witnesses to come forward and help bring justice to the family of Ronnie Foxx.  

 

Charvaris Newsom convicted

Criminal Court Division I with Judge Steve Dozier saw DEFENDANT Charvaris Newsom found guilty last week of  first degree felony murder and especially aggravated robbery.
Assistant District Attorney Chandler Harris … Team Leader Wesley King … VWC Cathy Harrison … Investigator Randy Martin … and Supervisor Dona Murphy all worked long hours to bring justice to the victim’s family.
Quick facts: The victim, Ian Patterson came to James Cayce homes in October 2015 to buy a gun from an acquaintance, Quantarius Newsom. Upon arrival, Quantarius and the defendant, Charvaris Newsom robbed Patterson in his car. As he got out of the back seat, Charvaris shot him … leaving an important fingerprint on the car. Another robbery and shooting days later linked Charvaris’ prints and casings to the Patterson murder. Adding to that, Quantarius testified against his cousin. Information also came in from the cousins during their time behind bars about a ‘get out of jail for the murder’ plan. ADA Harris worked LONG HOURS at the office last weekend putting all the pieces of this complicated puzzle together, but gives total credit to the team: “This result was the epitome of a team effort and absolutely could not have occurred without the help of Wesley King, Randy Martin, Cathy Harrison, and the fantastic work of the MNPD – particularly Det. Adam Weeks.”