Crime and Law Enforcement


  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court has scheduled dates to execute two more death row inmates but still hasn't ruled on the attorney general's requests to set seven other executions.

An order Wednesday says Oscar Franklin Smith is scheduled to be put to death on June 4 and Harold Wayne Nichols is to be executed on Aug. 4.

The country as a whole has been moving away from putting inmates to death, but Tennessee was second only to Texas in the number of executions it carried out in 2019. 


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Tennessee is set to put a blind prisoner to death in the electric chair for his conviction in the 1991 killing of his estranged girlfriend.

The planned execution Thursday evening of 53-year-old inmate Lee Hall would be only the second of a blind person since the U.S. reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976.

Authorities say Hall killed Traci Crozier by setting her car ablaze while she was inside it and giving her fatal burns over most of her body.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee judge has denied a defense request to move the murder trial of a white police officer out of Nashville, saying a jury in that city will be “fair and impartial” in considering charges in the fatal shooting of an armed black man.

Earlier this month, the defense for Officer Andrew Delke cited video released of the July 2018 shooting of 25-year-old Daniel Hambrick, media coverage and a survey of the jury pool to contend Delke’s fair trial rights are at risk with Nashville jurors.

However, Judge Monte Watkins denied the request Tuesday.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Two atheist families are suing a Tennessee school system, claiming district officials there promote Christianity.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Nashville by the American Civil Liberties Union. It claims Smith County school officials engage in unconstitutional practices that include school-directed prayer during assemblies, Bible distribution during classes and a large cross painted on the wall of a school athletic facility.

The Rutherford County Sheriff's Office confirms that the body found this past week in the Barfield area is that of missing Rutherford County teen Devin Bond.

The 16-year-old Riverdale High School student disappeared in March of 2017. 

In a press statement released Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's office says medical examiners made the identification. They found no signs of foul play.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge in Memphis, Tennessee, has denied a request to modify a decades-old order barring the city from engaging in surveillance of protesters and activists.

U.S. District Judge Jon McCalla’s ruling Wednesday responds to a sealed motion by the city of Memphis seeking to change a consent decree issued in 1978. The decree followed disclosures that the Memphis Police Department had spied on civil rights activists, violating their First Amendment rights.

MURFRESSBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Human remains have been found during the search for a Tennessee teen who vanished in 2017.

News outlets report the remains were found Wednesday near the Barfield Crescent Park in Murfreesboro. Rutherford County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh says the remains found in a heavily wooded area have not been medically confirmed to be that of Devin Bond, who was 16 when he disappeared.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee death row inmate has selected electrocution for his upcoming execution, a move that would make him the fourth person in the state to choose that method over lethal injection since last year.

The Department of Correction confirmed Thursday that Lee Hall, formerly known as Leroy Hall Jr., requested the electric chair for the scheduled Dec. 5 execution.


RUTHERFORD, Tenn. (AP) — A former political campaign treasurer and Tennessee Republican Party committeewoman is accused of stealing more than $65,000 from her father's campaign and pocketing insurance money from policyholders who used her family's insurance company.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Associated Press released a correction to this story Nov. 7. at 8:58 a.m. The amount Kelsey Ketron is accused of stealing from her father's campaign fund is $65,500, not the $133,000 originally reported.

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's new restrictions for registering voters aren't scheduled to face trial until February 2021, likely keeping the penalties blocked through the 2020 elections.

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger scheduled the trial for two challenges of the law that fines groups with paid workers for submitting too many incomplete registration forms , considered a first among states.

It also criminalizes intentional infractions of other new rules with misdemeanor charges.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- Tennessee Department of Corrections officials say the state’s probation officers are quitting at an alarming rate.


Governor Bill Lee is holding budget hearings on Capitol Hill this week. During TDOC’s presentation Monday, officials noted that one corrections worker in four leaves state employment each year.


Even more concerning, TDOC HR Director Brian Hughes told the governor the rate of attrition for probation officers is accelerating.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- Nashville’s Community Oversight Board and Metro Police remain at an impasse nearly one year after voters strongly approved community oversight.

An email exchange this past week between Chief Steve Anderson and Board Director Will Weeden makes clear the two organizations have made no progress on a memorandum outlining how they will interact.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville police have arrested a Tennessee State University student in the shooting death of another student inside a campus dorm.

Police said in a statement on Twitter that 18-year-old George Wells Jr. was charged on Wednesday with reckless homicide in the death of 19-year-old Rickey B. Scott.

Police say both men lived at the dorm where Scott was found unconscious on Sunday. He died later that day at a medical center.

Have you seen this man? Call Nashville Police

Oct 7, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- Metro Police asking for your help solving an Antioch double homicide that left a third person critically wounded early Monday morning.


Police say they’re looking for 38-year-old Jermaine Agee in connection with the fatal stabbing deaths of his ex-girlfriend and her 13-year-old son. The woman’s 16-year-old daughter was critically wounded.


The attack took place at a home on Sonoma Trace. The victim’s car was found a short distance away on Bell Road.


Nashville DA's Office

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- Nashville will remember the victims of domestic violence Saturday morning as part of October’s National Domestic Violence Awareness Month activities.

Survivors and supporters will gather at 10 a.m. on the pedestrian bridge downtown for the 15th annual Meet Us At the Bridge remembrance ceremony.

Last October dozens of survivors, friends and family gathered for the event. One survivor shared her domestic assault experience.


  MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- The State of Tennessee is reportedly willing to take the deal offered this week by Purdue Pharma to settle opioid epedemic lawsuits against the pharmacuetical giant.


However, the Associated Press reports only about half of the roughly 2,000 state and local governments pursuing the lawsuit favor the deal. Detractors say the agreement on offer doesn't sufficiently punish the company's owners, the Sackler family, for their part in causing the opioid crisis.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal judge has blocked Tennessee's new restrictions for registering voters from taking effect on Oct. 1, saying Thursday that any benefit of the law won't likely outweigh its potential harm.

The ruling, for now, sets aside a law that goes beyond other states by fining groups that pay workers when too many incomplete registration forms are submitted. The law would also criminalize intentional infractions of a new set of rules, exposing voting advocates to misdemeanor charges.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Republican Tennessee lawmaker says he was clearly joking when he called in a radio broadcast for the abolishment of higher education in order to cut off the "liberal breeding ground.

However, Sen. Kerry Roberts of Springfield said in a statement Tuesday that he stands behind his critique of liberal arts education in America "one hundred percent."

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Prosecutors are dropping same-sex rape charges in a case investigated by a homophobic deputy who gave sermons as a Baptist church pastor calling for the execution of gay people.

Assistant District Attorney General Sean McDermott tells the Knoxville News Sentinel that former Knox County sheriff's detective Grayson Fritts' involvement factored in the decision, as they wouldn't have him testify. Other cases involving Fritts also are being reviewed after his hate-filled sermons came to light this summer.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- The Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration says paid attendance at last weekend’s contest was up slightly, but a photo by the local Times-Gazette shows large open sections in the event’s 30,000 seat arena.


The Big Lick, held in Shelbyville every year since 1939, was once one of Tennessee’s largest tourism draws pumping millions of dollars annually into the mid-state economy.


Groups seek to block Tennessee voter signup penalties law

Aug 20, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Several voter registration organizations are asking a judge to stop Tennessee's new restrictions for signing up voters from taking effect in October, saying the law has already curtailed their ability to enroll voters in communities of color and other historically disenfranchised groups.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Sentencing has been set for a Tennessee man convicted of aggravated assault for severely beating a gay man and bragging about it online.

The Daily News Journal reports Brandon Wiley, of Lewisburg, is set to be sentenced Thursday. Wiley and the victim testified last week about the 2018 attack at a Murfreesboro bar.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A 60-year-old woman is accused of trying to smother her husband with a pillow as he lay in a hospital bed in Tennessee.

Citing arrest records, news outlets report Barbara Jones was arrested Sunday and charged with attempted criminal homicide. She's set to appear in court Wednesday.

Court documents a witness heard a scream from inside a room at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and entered to find Jones removing the pillow from her husband's face.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT/AP) -- Witnesses say Tennessee death row inmate Stephen West quoted scripture when asked for his final words.


West’s execution began at 7:15 p.m. Thursday night. A state spokesperson says he was pronounced dead at 7:27 p.m.


West was convicted in 1987 of the stabbing death of East Tennessee residents Wanda Romines and her teenaged daughter Sheila.