Media Archives

  • NY Times article: DA’s new Conviction Review Unit frees Joseph Webster (1/18/2022)

    In November, 2020, Joseph Webster became the first person whose First Degree Murder Conviction was vacated by the Nashville District Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit.  Webster had been 15 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.  The Nashville District Attorney’s Office set up a unit in 2016 to review cases that might have been decided wrongfully. Members of the new unit collaborated with defense lawyers in an investigation that produced new witnesses and evidence.

    Sunny Eaton, who runs the conviction review unit, said her office had been created because of District Attorney Glenn Funk’s commitment to have truth-finding as the central role of the prosecutor’s office. “I believe that the overwhelming feeling is one of pride to be part of a district attorney’s office that puts its money where its mouth is,” Ms. Eaton said, “and is actually transparent and takes the steps toward self-reflection and accountability and getting things right that may have been gotten wrong before.”


     

    Imprisoned Nearly 15 Years, but Now Cleared of a Murder He Didn’t Commit

    New York Times article  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/12/us/joseph-webster-nashville.html

    A Nashville judge vacated the conviction of Joseph Webster after a collaborative investigation produced new witnesses and evidence.

    Joseph Webster greeting his mother, Marie Burns, as he was released from prison on Tuesday after serving nearly 15 years of a life sentence for murder.

    Joseph Webster greeting his mother, Marie Burns, as he was released from prison on Tuesday after serving nearly 15 years of a life sentence for murder.Credit…Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean, via Imagn Content Services, LLC

    John Ismay

    By John Ismay

    Nov. 12, 2020

    On Thursday, Joseph Webster lunched on grilled salmon, which he had longed for while spending almost 15 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. There was also steamed broccoli and Diet Coke. “It was delicious,” he said by phone on his way to a local TV news station for an interview.

    Mr. Webster, 41, walked out of a detention center in downtown Nashville just before 7 p.m. Tuesday, hours after a judge had agreed with a determination by the district attorney’s office that they had lost confidence in Webster’s first-degree murder conviction and had ordered it vacated. Mr. Webster had been serving a life sentence and would have been eligible for parole after serving 51 years.

    Mr. Webster’s conviction was the first to be overturned since the Nashville District Attorney’s Office set up a unit in 2016 to review cases that might have been decided wrongfully. Members of the new unit collaborated with defense lawyers in an investigation that produced new witnesses and evidence.

    “We’re now in the process of helping him rebuild his life,” Mr. Webster’s lawyer, Daniel A. Horwitz, said Thursday.

    Mr. Webster went to prison in 2003 on an unrelated drug charge and was convicted in 2006 for the murder of Leroy Owens, who was bludgeoned to death with a cinder block in a Nashville parking lot on Nov. 22, 1998.

    Witnesses testified during Mr. Webster’s trial that Mr. Owens had been attacked by two Black men driving a white station wagon, and they described one assailant as weighing roughly 160 pounds and the other perhaps 200 pounds. Mr. Webster, however, weighed 300 pounds at the time and had 12 permanently installed, very bright gold front teeth. No witnesses recalled either of the men who attacked Mr. Owens as having gold teeth.

    “There was evidence that made it pretty clear who committed this crime, and it was not Mr. Webster,” Mr. Horwitz said. “Two new witnesses came forward who saw the murder and were able to give pretty good descriptions of the two people who did it.”

    In October 2016, Mr. Webster hired Mr. Horwitz after a failed attempt to have the murder weapon tested for DNA evidence. It was around that same time, Mr. Horwitz said, that the Nashville District Attorney’s Office established what it called a conviction review unit to look at cases that might have been incorrectly decided.

    “I believe we were the first case that applied for review from that unit,” Mr. Horwitz said, adding that his client had been freed because of “a building snowball of exonerating evidence coming steadily over the course of a very long time.”

    Sunny Eaton, who runs the conviction review unit, said her office had been created because of District Attorney Glenn Funk’s commitment to have truth-finding as the central role of the prosecutor’s office. “I believe that the overwhelming feeling is one of pride to be part of a district attorney’s office that puts its money where its mouth is,” Ms. Eaton said, “and is actually transparent and takes the steps toward self-reflection and accountability and getting things right that may have been gotten wrong before.”

    The night he was released, Mr. Webster said, he went to his mother’s house and reunited with his four adult sons, whom he had called multiple times a week throughout his imprisonment. “My mom had cooked me a dinner, and we just caught up, and it was just unbelievable,” Mr. Webster said. “So we enjoyed the moment.”

    Mr. Webster was having a busy Thursday. In the morning, he was back in a courtroom petitioning a judge to return his voting rights, which may be restored after Mr. Webster resolves his court costs, Mr. Horwitz said.

    From there, the two went to the Tennessee Driver Services office so that Mr. Webster could obtain a new driver’s license, only to find that so much time had passed while he was in prison that he would have to retake the driving test.

    After doing interviews, Mr. Webster and Mr. Horwitz were planning to visit Project Return, a local organization that helps people transition from incarceration and reintegrate into society.

    Mr. Webster hopes to start a trucking business and drive a dump truck.

    “Nashville is growing so much that I just want to be part of the growth,” Mr. Webster said. “And I can contribute a little bit at a time by moving gravel and rocks.”

     

  • Dec. 4, 2021 – Thanks to Donelson-Hermitage and Goodlettsville (12/29/2021)

    Special Thanks to all who came out for the Donelson-Hermitage and Goodlettsville Christmas Parades on December 4th.  District Attorney Glenn Funk and several staff members had the privilege of walking in the Donelson-Hermitage parade at 2pm, followed by the Goodlettsville parade at 4pm.   General Funk was honored with ‘The Spirit of Christmas’ award at the Donelson-Hermitage parade for his ‘Christmas Vacation’ themed  wood-grain, antique station wagon with a lighted tree on top.  Melissa Jared, whose late husband Steve helped organize the Donelson-Hermitage parade for the past 3 decades gave the award to General Funk, stating that ‘Christmas Vacation’ (starring Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold driving an old wood-grained wagon) was her late husband’s favorite holiday movie.   Steve Jared passed away earlier this year, so the award was a true honor in memory of a great community leader.   Thank you sincerely to all who came out and attended both of these wonderful holiday parades! 

  • Fall, 2021 – Decriminalizing Mental Health Issues (12/29/2021)

    It’s called the Behavioral Care Center, and it’s the new state of the art, cutting edge approach to taking individuals with mental health issues out of the jail populations and into a facility where they can truly receive the help they need. The innovative approach is because of the teamwork of Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk and Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall. The BCC is run by Sheriff Hall and located in a separate wing of the new downtown detention center, but supervised by the Mental Health Co-Op. Guards in the BCC are dressed like health care professionals, and those receiving treatment are referred to as ‘clients’ instead of inmates. Upon completion of the BCC treatment and counseling, charges are dismissed and individuals are discharged with a 30 day supply of medication and follow-up counseling. The unique program is receiving national attention as a key component to criminal justice reform while also assisting those with mental health concerns to once again become productive members of our community.

  • Dec. 2021 – Guilty Verdict for man accused of shooting at Metro Police (12/29/2021)

    Congratulations to Assistant District Attorneys Jenny Charles, Jeff George and Bud Baker for the successful December 2021 prosecution of a man accused of shooting at Metro Police officers in early 2020.    33-year-old Bryan Bowser was convicted on two counts of aggravated assault for firing shots without warning at the Midtown Hills Precinct officers along Music Row.   Bowser was seen running into a building, and moments later, shooting at the officers.  The Swat Team eventually arrested the suspect who was found to have three firearms and more than 700 rounds of ammunition stored in the building.   General Charles and her team secured a quick verdict, with General Charles stating that Generals George and Baker did an outstanding job from jury selection to closing arguments.

    https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/crime/2020/01/06/nashville-police-man-fired-fired-shots-at-officers-in-music-row/2826194001/

     

     

  • Fall, 2021 – Ending Mass Incarceration at the local level (12/29/2021)

    Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk believes the severe sanction of incarceration should be primarily reserved for violent offenders. Through innovations such as Steering Clear, criminal justice reform measures, and new policies like ending prosecution of less than half ounce of Marijuana, the daily population of locally incarcerated inmates fell from 3,151 per day in 2013 to less than 1,500 today. That is a savings to Nashville taxpayers of $155,000 per day and a yearly savings of more than 50 million dollars.

  • Nov. 2021 – Assistant DA’s given top state honors for drug prosecutions (12/29/2021)

    Congratulations to Assistant District Attorneys Ed Ryan and Mindy Vinecore as they were honored at the annual Tennessee Narcotics Officers Association in Chattanooga this fall. Generals Ryan and Vinecore were recognized as top prosecutors in Tennessee in the war against drugs and the continued crackdown on drug suppliers resulting in overdoses.

  • The DA’s office and Metro Police stop HIV Positive suspect from infecting more victims (10/12/2020)

    A man believed to have infected dozens of women with the potentially life threatening virus, HIV is now behind bars, thanks to the hard work of the Nashville District Attorney’s office, Metro Police Detective Kevin Wiles, Criminal Court Judge Steve Dozier, and the victims who had the courage to testify. Danny Perry II is being labeled as a “Predator”, according to Assistant District Attorney Kate Melby, who handled the case for the Nashville District Attorney’s office alongside Victim Witness Coordinator Cathy Harrison. Melby added that even though Perry is now behind bars for the next six years, more charges would be filed if more victims come forward.  “We’re here for any victims who have the strength and courage to come forward.  We want them to know we’ll support them no matter what the circumstances.”

    Read the entire story here

  • Retirement of a true Tennessee Public Servant and the hiring of two new Assistant District Attorneys (9/3/2020)

    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 (9/3/2020)

    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 (9/3/2020)

    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 (5/30/2018)

    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 (5/30/2018)

    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 (5/30/2018)

    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 (5/30/2018)

    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 (5/30/2018)

    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.”

  • Vana Mustafa Guilty Verdict (12/4/2017)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 1, 2017 (Nashville, TN)—A Davidson County jury has found a Nashville man guilty of Premeditated First Degree Murder in the 2016 shooting death of a local teenager. Vana Mustafa, 19, was convicted of killing 18-year-old Aiad Malo after shooting him multiple times when the two encountered each other in the former Kmart store parking lot on Nolensville Pike.

    The defendant and the victim grew up together but had a falling out. The testimony at trial indicated the falling out was also Mustafa’s motive for the homicide. “

    Aiad’s death was heartbreaking for his large, close-knit family,” Assistant DA Jan Norman said. “Aiad and his twin-brother were the youngest of nine children. This verdict has helped give the Malo family some semblance of peace.”

    Vana Mustafa was 17-years-old at the time of the murder. His case was transferred from juvenile court to Davidson County Criminal Court for trial. Vana Mustafa received a life sentence.

    Vana Mustafa guilty verdict

  • Corder and Burnett Patton Plea (12/4/2017)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    December 4, 2017
    (Nashville, TN)—The two men charged in a 2015 home invasion in Crieve Hall will spend the next 15 years in prison. Robert Corder and Oscar Burnett-Patton pled guilty Friday to Especially Aggravated Kidnapping for holding a Nashville family at gunpoint inside their Trousdale Drive home. Corder and Burnett-Patton admitted robbing the family after forcing them to drive to several ATMs to withdraw money.

    Assistant District Attorney Paul DeWitt said the pair entered the family’s home as the homeowner returned from grocery shopping. They forced the woman, along with her daughter, granddaughter, and her granddaughter’s boyfriend to drive to several banks to withdraw money. Police tracked down the suspects because the daughter was able to memorize the suspect’s license tag number, even as she was held at gunpoint.
    “We appreciate the victim’s courage, determination and patience throughout this process,” ADA DeWitt said. “We hope this guilty plea gives the family the justice they deserved.”

    Corder and Burnett Patton plea

  • Luis Alvarez-Avila Sentenced (11/20/2017)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    November 20, 2017

    (Nashville, TN)-A Nashville man convicted of sexually abusing a young girl will spend the rest of his life in prison. Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins today sentenced Luis Alvarez-Avila to 90-years in prison following his conviction on sexual battery charges. Alvarez-Avila, 63, was sentenced to 10 years for each of the nine counts of Aggravated Sexual Battery of a Victim Under 13.
    Assistant District Attorney Tammy Meade said the abuse began when the female victim was just five-years-old and continued until she was 10. “What he did changed this little girl’s life forever but not once did he apologize,” Meade said. “Alvarez-Avila wanted sympathy for himself but fortunately, the court saw otherwise.”
    Alvarez-Avila was a relative of the victim. He pled guilty to the charges in October in order to avoid going to trial. He was ordered to serve his sentence in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Correction.

    Alvarez-Avila sentence

  • Donald Harris Sentence (10/5/2017)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    October 5, 2017
    (Nashville, TN)- A Nashville man will spend the rest of his life in prison for the brutal murder of his girlfriend’s three-year-old son. Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Cheryl Blackburn sentenced Donald Lee Harris, 35, to life plus 75 years in prison on Wednesday. Harris was found guilty in June of murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect. The three-year-old victim had been severely beaten with belts, treated with exceptional cruelty, and was especially vulnerable due to his physical and mental disabilities.

    Assistant DA Pam Anderson said even while the child was dying, he was not taken to the hospital. She called Harris a dangerous offender who had no regard for human life. “This was not a one-time isolated event, this was ongoing, sustained torture. There is no more dangerous offender than one that would cause harm to a child, Anderson said.”

    The boy’s mother, Shantonio Hunter, pled guilty in September to second degree murder and was sentenced to 28 years in prison.

    Click here for the official release…

  • Javon Spivey guilty verdict (9/18/2017)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    September 18, 2017

    (Nashville, TN)- A Davidson County jury returned guilty verdicts Thursday afternoon against a man charged in a deadly 2014 home invasion in Antioch. After four days of testimony and less than an hour of deliberations, jurors convicted Javon Jolarry Spivey, 28, on the following six felony counts:
    First Degree Premeditated Murder
    First Degree Felony Murder
    Attempted First Degree Premeditated Murder
    Especially Aggravated Burglary
    Robbery
    Employing a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony

    Spivey shot and killed Charles Peterson IV after breaking into the home Peterson shared with his mother, Anne. Mrs. Peterson was also shot by Spivey as she ran to a neighbor’s house for help. Assistant District Attorney Byron Pugh described the case as a nightmarish series of crimes committed by a man who had no regard for human life.
    Mrs. Peterson took the stand during the trial and told jurors how Spivey chased her down as she ran for her life, stomped on her back when she fell to the ground, and shot her multiple times. “Mrs. Peterson remained undeterred in her quest for justice for herself and her son. The jury’s decision to find this defendant guilty of these horrific crimes will allow Mrs. Peterson to begin the process of healing,” said ADA Pugh.

    Jurors also found Spivey guilty of robbing a man at a Murfreesboro Road ATM one hour after fleeing the Peterson home. He will be sentenced by Judge Cheryl Blackburn on November 1.

  • Ledbetter Guilty Verdict (6/29/2017)
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    June 29, 2017
    (Nashville, TN)—It was a case both the prosecution and the defense admitted was difficult for jurors to hear. After listening to three days of testimony in the child rape case against Jeremy Ledbetter, a Davidson County jury took less than an hour to find the Nashville man guilty on all counts. Prosecutors described the case, which included testimony about the sexual abuse of children and animals, one of the most disturbing and appalling cases they had seen. The young victim testified that the rape and abuse by Ledbetter occurred from the time he was 10 until 12-years-old.
     Ledbetter, 29, was convicted on the following charges:
     
    •        Rape of a Child–2 counts
    •        Aggravated Sexual Battery/Victim Under 13-two counts
    •        Induce Sexual Activity by a Minor-two counts
    •        Display Sexual Acts to a Minor Under 13-one count
     
    Assistant District Attorney Chad Butler said the guilty verdict gave the victim the justice he deserved and helped to give back a piece of his childhood. “All victims of child sexual abuse who testify in front of their abusers are brave to do so. The young victim in this case was particularly courageous for standing up and testifying about the type of humiliating abuse he suffered at the hands of Jeremy Ledbetter,” Butler said.
    Ledbetter faces up to 134 years in prison when he is sentenced on August 18.
     
  • Child rapist guilty plea (5/4/2017)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    May 04, 2017

    (Nashville, TN)— Following a guilty plea this afternoon in the child rape case involving a three-month-old baby, Assistant District Attorney Chad Butler said, “There are cases that come across your desk that will haunt you forever, this is one of those cases.”

    Defendant Michael Delk, 39, plead guilty in Division VI Criminal Court today to charges of Rape of a Child and Especially Aggravated Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. According to General Butler, Delk was arrested at a Murfreesboro Road hotel in 2015 after his wife reported to police that she saw cell phone images of Delk raping the three-month-old. Delk was sentenced to serve 100% of a 35-year prison sentence.

    “The only blessing in this case is that this baby is happy and healthy, and the person who committed this horribly despicable act is exactly where he belongs, where he can’t hurt another child,” Butler said.

     

     

  • Guilty Plea in Rape Case (5/2/2017)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    May 02, 2017

    (Nashville, TN)—It was among the most egregious set of facts and circumstances the court had heard. A man charged with raping an Antioch woman at gunpoint after sneaking into her garage, will spend the next 30 years in prison. Anthony Edmontson, 33, plead guilty to two counts of Aggravated Rape after DNA evidence linked him to the brutal 2012 attack.

    Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman said the victim had just pulled into her garage when she was confronted by Edmontson who raped her repeatedly, forced her into the trunk of her car, and threatened to kill her and her children if she called police.  “At one point, Edmontson had the gun at the back of the victim’s head when she heard a ‘click’ sound. At the time, the victim thought it was the sound of the safety being released, but she later learned that the ‘click’ was the sound of the gun mis-firing,” Norman said. The case had originally been set for trial on May 8. Edmontson, who was on parole for a Kentucky robbery, entered a guilty plea to two counts of Aggravated Rape and will have to serve 100% of the 30 year sentence, consecutive to his Kentucky parole.

     

  • Aggravated Arson Sentence (3/27/2017)

    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.

  • Guilty plea in Luis Diaz murder (3/3/2017)

    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.

  • DA-TBI Memorandum of Understanding for Police Involved Shootings (2/16/2017)

    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.

     

  • Guilty verdict in child rape trial (2/13/2017)

    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.

  • Guilty Verdict-First Degree Murder (2/3/2017)

    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.

     

     

  • Guilty Verdict in Aggravated Rape Trial (1/13/2017)

    (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.

     

  • Teen Essay Contest (8/1/2016)

    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.

    EssayContest_2016

  • Assistant District Attorney sworn in (4/21/2016)

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    (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

  • First Latina DA in Davidson County Criminal Court (4/18/2016)

    Lody 2

    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

  • Victims’ Rights Week ceremony (4/7/2016)

    (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

                           2:00pm

    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

     

  • Child rape sentence (2/22/2016)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    February 22, 2016

    (Nashville, TN)-A man convicted of raping a six-year-old Nashville girl has been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for a crime that underscored the importance of parents communicating with their children. Brandon Clymer, 31, was sentenced on February 17, 2016 to twenty-six (26) years in prison after a Davidson County jury found him guilty of Rape of a Child.  Assistant District Attorney Chad Butler said the victim reported the crime to her mother as soon as it happened and was able to give a detailed description, which assisted in the prosecution.  “Because the little girl’s mother talked to her at an early age about her body, inappropriate touching and abuse, she knew that the defendant’s actions were wrong and should be reported,” Butler said.  As part of his sentence, Clymer will be on community supervision for life and will be listed on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry.

    “This case serves as a reminder to parents to talk to their children about sexual abuse and assure them it is okay to report it, Butler said.” According to the Nashville Sexual Assault Center, 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys is sexually abused before his or her 18th birthday and most victims know their perpetrator. Clymer had been considered a family friend.

    For information on preventing child sexual abuse visit: www.sacenter.org/home  or call the 24 hour crisis and support line at 1-800-879-1999.

    Child rape sentencing-Clymer

  • Deputy District Attorney (2/17/2016)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    February 17, 2016

    Thurman, Tom 1010-27-1415 Hunter, Amy 1010-27-1544 Moore, Roger 1010-27-1515

    (Nashville, TN)- District Attorney Glenn Funk has announced the appointments of two assistants to top leadership positions within the DA’s Office. Assistant District Attorneys Roger Moore and Amy Hunter have been named Deputy District Attorneys. Both Moore and Hunter are respected lawyers with histories of prosecuting complex criminal cases in Davidson County.

    General Roger Moore first joined the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office in July, 1990.  He has served as senior assistant district attorney and team leader of Criminal Court Division V since 1996.  General Moore earned his Juris Doctor in 1977 at the University of Tennessee College of Law.  A Nashville native, General Moore’s legal career began as an Instructor of Law and staff attorney at the University of Tennessee College of Law Legal Clinic. He was then in private practice in Knoxville and Jackson prior to serving as an assistant district attorney in Jackson, Tennessee from 1982 to 1990.  He has been involved in a number of major criminal trials in Nashville including State vs. Paul Dennis Reid, State vs. Jason Burdick, State vs. Corey Radley and most recently as one of the prosecutors in the trial of Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey. “In sharing the vision of General Glenn Funk, my focus as Deputy DA will be to ensure victim-centered prosecution while recognizing the impact of mental health and poverty issues on the criminal justice system,” General Moore said.

    General Amy Hunter joined the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office in 2002 and currently serves as team leader of Criminal Court Division II. General Hunter is a graduate of Baylor University and earned a Juris Doctor from South Texas College of Law in 1997.  Prior to joining the DA’s Office, General Hunter served in the McLennan County, Texas District Attorney’s Office from 1997 to 2002.  A native of Houston, Texas, General Hunter has led more than 100 jury trials, which involved offenses ranging from 1st degree murder to theft.  She was one of the lead prosecutor in State vs. Deon Cartmell, State vs. Jason Bobo, and the theft case of State vs. Perry March. “Helping victims navigate a difficult process and seek closure on their cases is an important component of leadership in this office. I am honored and inspired by this opportunity,” General Hunter said.

    Current Deputy District Attorney Tom Thurman will continue in his position. General Thurman, one of the most respected prosecutors in the state, announced plans last year to retire from the DA’s Office sometime in 2016. Deputy Thurman has played a pivotal role in every major prosecution in Nashville over the last thirty years.  “Tom Thurman’s name is synonymous with justice and victims’ rights,” District Attorney Glenn Funk said. “Tom is a brilliant trial attorney and trusted adviser.  Nashville is a better, safer community thanks to his efforts. I expect General Thurman will continue to contribute to the office for a long time.”

    These are the first Deputy DA appointments since 1989 when Tom Thurman and Cheryl Blackburn were named to the post by then District Attorney Torry Johnson. Cheryl Blackburn was appointed to the bench in 1996 and has served as judge in Criminal Court Division III since that time. General Hunter becomes only the second woman to serve in this position.

     

  • Drug Trafficking Guilty Verdict (1/28/2016)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    January 28, 2016

    Guilty Verdict in Drug Trafficking Case

    (Nashville, TN)—A man accused of bringing large amounts of cocaine into Nashville from California has been found guilty of the crime by Davidson County jury.  Cesar Israel Parra-Baez, 41, was found guilty on five of six counts of conspiracy to deliver over 300 grams of cocaine, possession with intent to deliver and money laundering after a three-day trial this week.  Assistant District Attorney Ed Ryan called Parra-Baez one of the main suppliers of cocaine brought in to Nashville from California. Twenty-four (24) other co-defendants in the case previously pled guilty.

    Parra-Baez has an immigration hold on him and faces possible deportation after serving his sentence. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for March 9 in Division VI Criminal Court.  Parra-Baez faces up to 99 years in prison.

    Drug Trafficking guilty verdict

  • Human Trafficking Intervention Court (1/26/2016)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    January 26, 2016

    Human Trafficking Intervention Court Announced

    (Nashville, TN)—Nashville is set to launch the first of its kind court in Tennessee aimed at addressing the issue of human trafficking. Mayor Megan Barry joined Judge Casey Moreland, District Attorney Glenn Funk and others in announcing the launch of a Human Trafficking Intervention Court in Davidson County.

    “Nashville is a compassionate city with a long history of assisting some of our most vulnerable citizens in turning their lives around,” Mayor Barry said. “Human trafficking and prostitution can have a devastating effect on those forced into illegal conduct. This collaborative effort will aid the court system in solving a vast and critical problem.”

    The effort will be the first of its kind in the State of Tennessee and the Southeast. Similar courts are already operating in New York and Chicago.

    “As we have done so often in the past with drug courts and mental health courts, this new initiative will assist the Davidson County court system with identifying victims and connecting them with services,” Judge Moreland said. “Human trafficking is a crime that inflicts terrible harm on the most vulnerable members of society including children, runaways, immigrants and the poor. When these victims arrive in our courts, even as defendants in criminal cases, it gives us an opportunity to work together to stop this criminal enterprise.”

    “Through the combined efforts of the judiciary, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement, treatment providers, and others, this court will work to restore those impacted by trafficking and prostitution to safe, law-abiding lives,” District Attorney Funk said. “The aim is make Nashville a safer place for everyone.”

    While it is difficult to measure precisely a practice that exists largely in the shadows, we do know that there are approximately 27 million victims of human trafficking in the United States, according to a recent State Department estimate. The TBI estimates there were well over 100 reported cases of minors being trafficked for sex in Nashville in 2014 and a much greater number of adult victims being trafficked that same year.

    According to Assistant DA Tammy Meade, who heads the DA’s Grace Empowered prostitution intervention program, “Many more victims continue to go uncounted because they are often driven to the margins of our community.”
    Upon completion of the court’s three-phase program, which includes drug treatment and counseling, participants will have their cases dismissed and expunged. Several nonprofit organizations including End Slavery Tennessee, the Sexual Assault Center, The Next Door, Inc. and Thistle Farms will assist the court in providing aftercare.

    “The human trafficking court indicates a vital shift, treating victims as victims rather than criminals,” according to Derri Smith, Executive Director of End Slavery Tennessee.

    The Davidson County Human Trafficking Intervention Court will begin on February 9, 2016.

    Human Trafficking-news release

  • Media Advisory-Human Trafficking Court (1/25/2016)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  January 25, 2016

     MEDIA ADVISORY

    Human Trafficking Intervention Court Announced for Nashville

    (Nashville, TN)—Nashville is prepared to launch the first of its kind initiative in Tennessee to address the issues of trafficking and prostitution in our city.  Mayor Megan Barry will join Judge Casey Moreland, District Attorney Glenn Funk, Assistant DAs Tammy Meade, Deb Smith and representatives from End Slavery Tennessee to announce a new Human Trafficking Intervention Court in Davidson County. Through the combined efforts of the judiciary, prosecutors, law enforcement, treatment providers, and others, human trafficking court will work to identify trafficking victims, refer them to services, and restore them to safe, law-abiding lives.

    WHAT:       Davidson County Human Trafficking Court Announcement

    WHEN:       Tuesday, January 26, 2016 2:00pm

    WHERE:    Justice A. A. Birch Building 408 2nd Ave. North General Sessions Courtroom 4D

    The Nashville Human Trafficking Intervention Court is scheduled to begin in February, 2016.

    Human Trafficking-media advisory

  • Man guilty in attack (1/10/2016)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    January 10, 2016

    (Nashville, TN)  A Davidson County jury has found a Nashville man guilty of kidnapping, rape and robbery in a case described by the assistant district attorney as horrific.  Peterpal Tutlam, 31, was convicted Friday of attacking two men outside a south Nashville apartment complex in 2012.  The victims were beaten, stabbed repeatedly, robbed and forced to perform sex acts on each other by Tutlam and three other armed men.   Assistant District Attorney Megan King said the defendants were looking for someone to rob and had been casing the apartment complex when they came upon the victims.  “It took so much strength and courage for the victims to face the man who did this to them and to testify about the horrendous things they were put through,” King said.  “This was a random, callous act against innocent victims who were on their way to work when they were subjected to a violent and horrific attack by a group of men who should not be on the streets of Nashville,” Assistant DA Doug Thurman said.

    Peterpal Tutlam will be sentenced on February 24. He faces 15-to-25 years on each of the six counts against him.  His three co-defendants in the case previously pled guilty to the charges.

    Tutlam guilty verdict

  • Statement regarding passing of John Hollins, Sr. (1/8/2016)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    January 8, 2016

    Order Ambien without prescription http://www.gastonpharmacy.com/ambien.php

    Statement from District Attorney Funk regarding the passing of John Hollins, Sr.:

    “Nashville has lost a true champion in the passing of attorney John Hollins, Sr. Mr. Hollins was a strong advocate for justice and a great example of what it means to be an attorney.  As a former assistant district attorney, trial lawyer and president of the Nashville Bar Association, John Hollins, Sr. helped to make Nashville a better city because of his commitment and dedication.  My condolences are extended to the Hollins family and the entire legal community on the loss of an extraordinary man.” Modafinil pills online http://www.modafinilpill.net/

  • Verdict in child rape case (1/7/2016)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    January 7, 2016

    (Nashville, TN)  A six-year-old girl is being credited with helping to secure a conviction against the man who raped her.  Following three hours of deliberation, a Davidson County jury on Wednesday found Brandon Clymer, 31, guilty of Rape of a Child.  Assistant District Attorney Chad Butler said the victim reported the crime to her mother as soon as it happened and was able to give a detailed description, which assisted in the prosecution.  “Because the little girl’s mother talked to her at an early age about her body, inappropriate touching and abuse, she knew that the defendant’s actions were wrong and should be reported,” Butler said.  “This case serves as a reminder to parents to talk to their children about sexual abuse and assure them it is okay to report it.”  According to the Nashville Sexual Assault Center, national statistics show that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys is sexually abused before his or her 18th birthday and most victims know their perpetrator.

    Clymer had been considered a family friend. He faces 25 to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced on February 17, 2016.

    For information on preventing child sexual abuse visit: www.sacenter.org/home  or call the 24 hour crisis and support line at 1-800-879-1999.

  • Season to Remember (12/10/2015)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    December 7, 2015

    (Nashville, TN)— It is hard to imagine the pain of losing someone you love to a senseless murder.  For too many Nashville families that pain is especially difficult this time of year as the holiday season approaches.  In honor of victims and their families, the District Attorney’s Victim Witness division, Metro Police Victim Intervention Program and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will sponsor the 21st annual Season to Remember ceremony at Centennial Park.  The ceremony is a time for the entire community to pause in remembrance of those whose lives were lost to homicide and the families and friends left to mourn.

     

    WHAT:       Davidson County Season to Remember

    WHEN:       December 10, 2015 5:45pm

    WHERE:    The Children’s Garden at Centennial Park

     

     

    The family and friends of homicide victims support group will gather on December 8, 2015 at 5:30pm at the North Police Precinct, 2231 26th Avenue North, to make Christmas ornaments that will be placed on an evergreen tree during the Season to Remember ceremony. Candles will also be lit on the Menorah for Hanukkah and on the Kinara for Kwanzaa.

  • Asst. DA Kyle Anderson receives excellence award (12/4/2015)

    Anderson, Kyle 1010-27-1470 edit1

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    December 4, 2015

    (Nashville, TN)—Assistant District Attorney Kyle Anderson has received the Tennessee Excellence Award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for his work on DUI cases.  The award is given to the top regional prosecutor who demonstrates outstanding commitment to enforcing DUI law and for supporting local volunteers’ victim-advocacy efforts.  During the annual Night of Remembrance ceremony in Nashville on December 3, the organization cited Anderson’s consideration of victims and their families and his dedication to their concerns as reasons for the recognition.

    Anderson, a former metro police officer, leads the D.A.’s Vehicular Crimes Unit, which operates under a grant from the Governor’s Highway Safety Office. The unit consists of a dedicated team of prosecutors whose work has helped cut in half the number of deaths caused by impaired drivers in Davidson County.

    District Attorney Glenn Funk said he is proud to have Anderson and his team leading efforts to help make Davidson County roads safe and alcohol free.

    This holiday season, the D.A.’s Office advises motorists in Davidson County to remember the devastation that DUI and impaired driving causes victims and their families.

  • Drug Court Foundation & Grace Empowered (11/17/2015)

    footballfundraiserfundraiser2

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Media Advisory

    November 17, 2015

    (Nashville, TN)  Country music singer John Rich will lend a hand and a song to this year’s fall fundraiser to support the Davidson County Drug Court Foundation and the District Attorney’s Grace Empowered program. Grace Empowered is a court ordered prostitution intervention program operated by the DA’s Office. Participants can have their charges dismissed upon completion of classes that address drug addiction, trauma, and the health and safety implications of prostitution. The Davidson County Drug Court Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance for drug and alcohol treatment through Judge Casey Moreland’s General Sessions Treatment Court.

    Who:           Drug Court Foundation/Grace Empowered

    What:          Fall Fundraiser with performance by John Rich

    When:         Thursday, November 19, 2015

                          5:00pm-7:00pm

    Where:        Dawg House Saloon

                         1522 Demonbreun Street

                         Nashville, TN 37203

    For more information:  

    https://da.nashville.gov/grace-empowered/

    www.gsdrugcourtfoundation.org

  • Marcus Floyd named Assistant DA (11/2/2015)

    Marcus Floyd - Head Shot2

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    November 2, 2015

    (Nashville, TN)  District Attorney Glenn Funk has announced the appointment of Nashville native Marcus Floyd to the position of Assistant District Attorney, effective November 2, 2015.  Floyd is a graduate of Belmont University College of Law and Middle Tennessee State University.  He previously served as a probation/parole officer in Memphis and Nashville.  While attending law school, Floyd worked as an intern in DA’s Office and as a judicial law clerk in the 21st Judicial District.

    “Marcus Floyd has long had a desire to serve the community and he is committed to making Nashville a safer place for everyone,” District Attorney Glenn Funk said.  “I look forward to great things from Marcus and I am excited to have him join our team.”

    A graduate of Hillsboro High School, Marcus grew up in the Edgehill homes where he developed an early interest in public service.  “As an African-American man who grew up in government housing, I began law school with the sole desire to serve my community.  During my legal internships, I discovered that prosecutors are in a unique position to achieve fairness and justice for all members of our community,” Floyd said.  “Serving as an Assistant District Attorney will afford me an opportunity to help protect Nashville’s vulnerable victims from violent crimes and achieve justice for all members of our community.”

  • DUI Prosecution Award (9/21/2015)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    September 21, 2015

    Nashville, Tenn. –Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer and Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) Director Kendell Poole announced the Tennessee agencies that received grant awards totaling $17.8 million to support highway traffic safety efforts.

    The Davidson County District Attorney’s Office received $389,506 to support its specialized traffic offender prosecution team.  Assistant District Attorney Kyle Anderson said the award helps to fund three lawyers and a DUI coordinator position, as well as training and office expenses.  “We are grateful to the Governor’s Highway Safety Office for this grant and the continued support of our dedicated team of prosecutors whose work has helped cut in half the number of deaths caused by impaired drivers in Davidson County,” Anderson said.

    A major part of roadway safety is educating motorists about laws and good driving behaviors.  “These grants help fund a variety of enforcement, legal, and educational initiatives across the state,” Schroer said. “All of these efforts, from DUI prosecution, to speed enforcement, to child passenger safety training, support the mission of saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads through partnership with numerous public and private organizations.”

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides the funding to GHSO.  The grants, totaling 437 for the 2015-2016 funding cycle, were awarded to 376 agencies that successfully applied for funding based on a defined problem and statistical need.  “Tennessee’s decline in traffic fatalities has occurred because of the dedication and commitment from our partners across the state,” Poole said. “They are coming up with ideas and programs that are creative, innovative, and solid.  They are the foundation for the culture of safety on our roads, and I am ecstatic that we are able to support their endeavors.”

    DUI Prosecution Team

  • Escobar named domestic violence team leader (8/27/2015)

    escobar

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    August 27, 2015

    (Nashville, TN) – District Attorney Glenn Funk has appointed veteran attorney Ana Escobar to head the DA’s domestic violence unit.  As team leader, Escobar will lead nine lawyers in prosecuting cases and assisting victims

    “Ana is a respected and compassionate advocate who will work to ensure immediate and consistent professional support for victims of domestic violence and accountability for offenders,” District Attorney Funk said.

    Escobar was sworn in as Assistant District Attorney in March 2015.  She previously served as Deputy Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts and as Metropolitan Nashville Clerk.  She also created MyCity Academy, an initiative of the mayor’s office to assist new immigrants to Nashville.  Escobar is a graduate of George Washington University Law School and Vanderbilt University.

    In Davidson County, half of all violent crime is domestic related. More than 5,400 domestic violence cases were prosecuted last year.  At that time, Funk increased the number of attorneys handling domestic violence cases and announced the creation of a new investigative division to focus on prosecution support. The unit is also staffed with victim-witness coordinators who work directly with victims as their cases go through the court system.

     

  • Child abuse verdict (7/30/2015)

    Child abuse-En Espanol

    (Nashville, TN) –A Davidson County jury has found a Nashville man guilty of sexual battery in a case involving an 11-year-old boy.  Jose Alvarado, 46, was convicted after evidence showed he abused the boy at the church the two attended.

    Assistant District Attorney Alyssa Hennig said the boy’s mother first suspected abuse and was encouraged by her pastor and pediatrician to contact police. Hennig said mandatory reporting laws carry a legal duty to report suspected child abuse cases to police or the Department of Children Services.

    “These type of crimes need to be reported because people who do this sort of thing are likely to reoffend until someone comes forward,” Hennig said. “The victim in this case recognized that by being brave and testifying he was helping to protect other children.”

    Hennig advises Non-U.S. citizens not to be afraid to report crimes despite their immigration status. Reports of child abuse can be made anonymously. Many Non-U.S. citizens who are victims of crime may also qualify for U-Visas.  The District Attorney’s Office has services available for non-English speaking victims and witnesses.

    Alvarado faces 8 to 12 years in prison when he is sentenced on August 28.

  • Wanted by the Law? (7/24/2015)

    FSS

  • Burlison Convicted (6/5/2015)

    June 05, 2015 – (Nashville, TN) – Burlison Convicted

    A Davidson County jury has returned guilty verdicts in the child rape and abuse trial of a former Hermitage babysitter. Jurors heard three days of testimony in the case led by Assistant District Attorneys Alyssa Hennig and Pam Anderson. Following less than two hours of deliberation on Thursday, Becky Burlison, 42, was found guilty on two counts of Aggravated Rape of a Child and one count each of Aggravated Child Abuse and Aggravated Child Neglect.

    Burlison was arrested by Metro Nashville Police in April, 2012 after the two-year-old boy she had been babysitting suffered severe injuries when Burlison inserted a brush handle into the child’s rectum. The handle broke and became lodged inside the little boy’s body.

    Assistant D.A. Alyssa Henning said the babysitter had been a trusted family friend. “The family is pleased with the jury’s verdict and understand that while this doesn’t change what happened to their son it does prevent her from hurting anyone else’s child,” General Hennig said.
    Assistant D.A. Pam Anderson said the case demonstrates the commitment by the District Attorney’s Office to protect vulnerable victims. “We will not tolerate this type of behavior from anyone toward children in our community,” General Anderson said.

    Becky Burlison faces a minimum forty-years in prison when she is sentenced on July 10.

    Click here to view the Official Release

  • Human Trafficking Unit (5/21/2015)

    (Nashville, TN) – Human Trafficking Unit

    “The ultimate form of depravity is when a person turns a little girl into a sex slave,” District Attorney Glenn Funk said in announcing the formation of a human trafficking unit inside the DA’s Office. Four Assistant District Attorneys have been assigned to the unit and will ensure full prosecution of human sex trafficking cases in Nashville. The move comes as the TBI creates the Middle Tennessee Human Trafficking Task Force to bring greater attention to the issue. The task force, which will include the DA’s Office, End Slavery Tennessee and several local law enforcement agencies, is currently working to secure a federal grant to assist in prosecution of offenders and services for victims.

    View the Official Release

  • Disarming Domestic Abusers (5/7/2015)

    May 07, 2015 – (WZTV) – Disarming Domestic Abusers

    The Davidson County District Attorney’s office confiscated a handgun from a convicted abuser, one of the first cases of its kind, the department said Wednesday.

    Read More at: http://www.fox17.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/Disarming-Domestic-Abusers—Eric-Alvarez-128118.shtml

  • Domestic Violence Prosecution Support (5/6/2015)

    May 06, 2015 – (WKRN) – Domestic Violence Prosecution Support

    Numbers released this week show more than half of all crimes in Tennessee are related to domestic violence.

    To curb that trend, Davidson County District Attorney General Glenn Funk implemented a plan called the Domestic Violence Prosecution Support.

  • DA’s Office Receives Leadership Award for Diversity (5/5/2015)

    May 05, 2015 – (Nashville) – DA’s Officeda-diversity Receives Leadership Award for Diversity

    The DA’s Office is honored to receive the 2015 Leadership Award for Diversity from the Nashville Bar Association (NBA). District Attorney Funk accepted the award during the NBA’s Annual Law Day luncheon on May 1, 2015. The award was given to the DA’s Office in recognition of its contributions to enhance diversity and professional success. District Attorney Funk has made diversity a priority by appointing more African-American and Latino lawyers and executive staff to key positions in his administration.

  • Jones, Mason and Martin Appointments (5/4/2015)

    May 04, 2015 – (Nashville) – Jones, Mason and Martin Appointments

    DA-Appointments-May042015District Attorney Glenn Funk has announced three new appointments to the Office of the District Attorney, effective May 1, 2015. Attorneys Robert Jones, Leticia Mason and Investigator Randy Martin were sworn in Friday morning by Judge Steve Dozier.

    Robert Jones is a veteran trial attorney and previously served as Shelby County’s Chief Public Defender. Attorney Jones has more than 35 years legal experience and is a graduate of Memphis State University School of Law. As an Assistant District Attorney in Nashville, he will oversee prosecution of child abuse cases.

    Attorney Leticia Mason’s private practice specialized in immigration and civil law. She joins the District Attorney’s Office after having worked as a Spanish court interpreter for Davidson County Criminal Court and a staff attorney for the Mexican government. She is a graduate of Nashville School of Law.

    Investigator Randy Martin retired from the Metro Nashville Police Department in 2014 after 30 years as a police detective. He joins the DA’s Investigations Unit to assist in preparing cases for prosecution.
    “I am pleased to have this group of professionals join our office,” District Attorney Funk said. “Their combination of experience and commitment to public safety will ensure our office continues to focus on protecting vulnerable victims.”

    View the Official Release

  • Boykin Sentencing (4/29/2015)

    April 09, 2015 – (Nashville) – Boykin Sentencing

    Judge Randall Wyatt has sentenced a former TSA agent to six months in jail for secretly videotaping a co-worker inside an airport restroom. Daniel Boykin, 33, was ordered to serve six-months in jail and five-and-a-half years on community corrections after pleading guilty to unlawful photography, aggravated burglary and violation of the computer act. Assistant District Attorney Amy Hunter, who called the case one of the most invasive and offensive crimes she’s prosecuted, said she is pleased with the judge’s ruling.

    View the Official Release

  • Assistant District Attorney Stacy Miller discusses mandatory reporting of child abuse in guest article for the Metro Nashville Education Association newsletter (4/13/2015)

    April 13, 2015 – (Nashville) – Assistant District Attorney Stacy Miller discusses mandatory reporting of child abuse in guest article for the Metro Nashville Education Association newsletter:

    StaceyMillerIn the past, the law allowed school districts to have a policy that required all teachers to report cases of suspected child abuse or neglect to a designated person within the school and then that person would make the report to the CPS hotline. The current law (Tenn. Code Ann. §37-1-403) requires that the individual who suspects abuse must make the report. Schools are still allowed to develop a policy or protocol to track such reports, but they must allow the actual person who suspects the abuse to report that abuse.

    Read full article here: http://www.mnea.com/Slate/SLATE04-07-15.pdf

  • Cases Under Review (4/1/2015)

    April 01, 2015 – (Nashville) – Cases Under Review

    After an office review uncovered child abuse cases that had not been acted upon over a several year period, District Attorney Glenn Funk has appointed a team of prosecutors to determine whether the cases can still move forward. The initial discovery of more than 70 unresolved child sex abuse cases, some dating back to 2010, was made in January. A further review in March, revealed 60 additional child physical abuse cases that had not been acted upon, some of which were more than 10 years old. “The concern here is that a child might have been left in a dangerous situation or that an abuser has abused again.” Funk said. “The primary mission of the District Attorney’s Office is to protect Nashville’s most vulnerable victims. Children are among the most vulnerable.” Funk has appointed the following team to work specifically on resolving these cases:

    • Katy Miller-Family Protection Unit team leader and veteran prosecutor;
    • Stacy Miller-Juvenile court team leader and veteran prosecutor;
    • Pam Anderson-Veteran prosecutor experienced in serious felonies;
    • Robert Jones-Trial Attorney with over 35 years experience;
    • Zoe Sams, Chad Butler and Alyssa Henning-Child abuse unit prosecutors

    View the Official Release

  • District Attorney’s Office Teams with Titans to Promote Healthy Relationships (3/23/2015)

    March 23, 2015 – District Attorney’s Office Teams with Titans to Promote Healthy Relationships

    The Tennessee Titans recently teamed up with the Nashville District Attorney’s Office to help educate students about the dangers of domestic violence through the promotion of healthy relationships. The Healthy Relationship seminar was presented to over 700 students grades 7-10 at Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School in Nashville. “We really want to thank the Tennessee Titans and the District Attorney’s Office for coming to M.L.K. today and appreciate the honesty in showing our students what healthy relationships are,” said Dr. Angela Carr, executive principal at M.L.K Magnet School.

    Domestic violence issues make up more than half of the violent crime in the Middle Tennessee region. Titans safety Michael Griffin, center Gabe Ikard and guard Justin McCray were on hand as guest speakers at the event, which included a highly interactive look at how the consequences of the choices we make can impact our lives forever.
    “Change comes through educating young people about the choices they make, the penalties associated with crime and the impact on families.” District Attorney Glenn Funk said.

    The District Attorney’s Office informed students about the legal ramifications of their actions and also discussed the resources available to help support victims of domestic violence. The event also included a question and answer session which allowed students the opportunity to ask questions regarding healthy relationships. “We definitely want to make sure that our students are equipped with learning what healthy relationships are and applying what they have learned in their lives,” Carr added. One of the many highlights of the program involved Titans players presenting their personal testimonies to the group and how they have properly handled certain situations they’ve experienced. “We are grateful for the Tennessee Titans’ dedication to this issue and for their commitment to help make Nashville a safer and healthier community,” added Funk.

    The Titans organization is committed to helping bring awareness to domestic violence and educating young people about making positive relationship choices in hopes of preventing future offenses.

    Please also visit the Titan’s news page for more information.

  • Assistant DA Jan Norman Shares Thoughts on Vanderbilt Rape Case (3/23/2015)

    March 23, 2015 – Assistant DA Jan Norman Shares Thoughts on Vanderbilt Rape Case

    During January’s Vanderbilt rape trial, the spotlight was not only on the defendants but also the legal teams trying the case.

    Among them was one woman, Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman, who became a prosecutor after discovering her career in sales wasn’t her true passion. Norman shared her thoughts with News 2 on the high-profile case that gained national attention.
    “I did have random people come up and say they saw me on TV,” she recalled. But for Norman, her focus was not on the cameras; it was on the jury and victim whose statement the she read with emotion at the end of the trial.
    “As I was reading it, I was thinking of her and her speaking those words which made it that much more meaningful to me,” Norman explained.

    Norman, a Brentwood native who graduated from Belmont University with a marketing degree, said after working a few years in sales she felt unfulfilled and decided to make a career change.“I think going late in life and having some work experience and life experience definitely helped,” she said. While in law school, Norman interned with the Davidson County DA’s office.
    “I knew 100 percent this is what I wanted to do,” she said. Since the end of the Vanderbilt trial, Norman said rape victims have reached out to her. “I get phone calls from rape victims, letters saying they were encouraged and inspired by it,” Norman said. Norman also said her position is her dream job, and she has no plans of leaving it anytime soon.

    Full Story on WKRN.

  • New Assistant DA Appointments (2/26/2015)

    February 26, 2015 – New Assistant DA Appointments

    View the Official Release

  • Statement of Support ‎from a Survivor of Rape (1/29/2015)

    January 29, 2015 – Statement of Support ‎from a Survivor of Rape

    In response to the verdicts issued, the victim makes the following statement:
    Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout this difficult process.

    I am thankful that the criminal justice system will hold the defendants responsible for their violent crimes. The hard work of the law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and victims’ advocates who dedicated so many months of their lives to this case has made justice possible.

    I want to especially thank Detective Jason Mayo, Sergeant Mike Shreeve, Detective Chad Gish, Deputy District Attorney Tom Thurman, Assistant District Attorneys Jan Norman and Roger Moore, and Victims’ Advocates Wanda Swan, Lieutenant Rochelle Barrios, and Teresa Shearon. You are my heroes, and I am so proud of and grateful for each of you.

    I am also hopeful that the publicity this case has received will lead to a discussion of how we can end sexual violence on college campuses.

    Finally, I want to remind other victims of sexual violence: You are not alone. You are not to blame.

    Thank you.

  • 2014 News Archive (12/24/2014)

    December 31, 2014 – Funk Named Man of the Year

    View the official Press Release


    November 18, 2014 – NEW INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION TO FOCUS SOLELY ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

    View the official Press Release


    November 10, 2014 – KOHLMEYER SEX TRAFFICKING CONVICTION
    View the official Press Release


    December 04, 2014 – JOHN BARRY FLYE GUILTY AFTER DNA EVIDENCE IS UNCOVERED

    View the official Press Release


    October 22, 2014 – YWCA AND LAWYERS’ ASSOCIATION FOR WOMEN TEAM UP TO EDUCATE THE LEGAL COMMUNITY ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
    View the official Press Release


    October 20, 2014 – VICTIM WITNESS SERVICES DIRECTOR NAMED
    View the official Press Release


    September 2, 2014 – DISTRICT ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCES NEW APPOINTMENTS
    View the official Press Release