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Haslam Announces Reward for Info on Robertson Co. Murder

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; June 7, 2013:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced a $10,000 reward from the state for information on the death of Rashaud Singletary in May 2012 in Springfield.

“I encourage anyone with information in this case to contact the local authorities immediately so those responsible for this crime can be brought to justice,” Haslam said.

The state reward of $10,000 is for information leading to the apprehension, arrest and conviction of the person or persons who have committed, attempted to commit or conspired to commit the murder of Singletary.

On May 6, 2012, Singletary was shot in the back of the head in Springfield, and there was a large group of people present at the time of the killing. The Springfield Police Department investigated the case, and a suspect, Mandrekus Young, was indicted. The 19th Judicial District Attorney General’s Office determined, however, that further investigation was needed before the case can move forward.

John Carney, District Attorney General for the 19th Judicial District, requests that anyone with information about this case call Det. Terry Dorris of the Springfield Police Department at (615) 384-8422.

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Milan Man Arrested in Norfolk, TBI Removes from Most Wanted List

Press release from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; Sept. 7, 2012: 

Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation today removed a Milan, Tenn. man from the state’s Top Ten Most Wanted list after he was captured in Norfolk, Va. late yesterday along with another individual who was picked up on an illegal weapons charge. In addition, the U.S. Marshals Service caught an individual in Henderson County, Tenn. yesterday who was also charged with murder for his involvement in the August 25, 2012 shooting death of a man at a Paris, Tenn. nightclub.

The U.S. Marshals Service and Norfolk Police Department arrested 20-year-old Tevin Lumpkin (top photo) and Charles Lipford, 32, of Milan, Tenn. without incident outside a convenience store in Norfolk. Lumpkin was wanted for murder after shooting and killing of 41-year-old Eric Kinley of Paris, Tenn. at Fahrenheit 101. TBI added him to the Top Ten Most Wanted list on August 28, 2012. Lipford was arrested for unlawful carrying of a weapon. Also, late yesterday, 23-year-old Cody Harmon (bottom photo) of Lexington, Tenn. was charged with one count of first degree murder. Harmon, who is an associate of Lumpkin, was involved in a fight with the victim when Lumpkin shot Kinley.

The TBI along with the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and 24th Judicial District Attorney General’s office are investigating. Last week, Jiles Yarbrough, 21, of Huntingdon, Tenn. was also arrested and charged with murder for his involvement in the incident.

Harmon was booked into the Henry County Jail. Lumpkin is currently being held in Virginia awaiting extradition.

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Bredesen: TN Execution Methods ‘Humane & Sensible’

Gov. Phil Bredesen said he stands by Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol despite the Tennessee Supreme Court delaying four executions while lower courts determine the constitutionality of an extra step recently added to the procedure.

He says he respects the high court’s decision to allow trial courts 90 days to test whether a new step added during the lethal injection is constitutionally sound, but believes the state is already operating within all confines of the law.

“I’m confident that what we’re doing is humane and sensible and in the main stream, it is certainly what a great many other states do, and that in the end we’ll find that what we’re doing is consistent with the Constitution and the law and that Tennessee will be able to go ahead,” said the governor after a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony on Capitol Hill.

The 90-day delay is the latest legal twist in the execution of Stephen Michael West, a man convicted of torturing, raping and killing a woman and her teenage daughter in 1986.

Monday’s ruling was the latest twist in a recent string of legal battles over the constitutionality of the lethal injection execution practices the state uses. Critics of the method argue that individuals may still be partly conscious after the drugs designed to paralyze breathing and stop the heart are administered, thus causing the inmate undue suffering prior to dying.

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Bredesen Pulls Gaile Owens Off Death Row

Gov. Phil Bredesen has commuted the death sentence of Gaile Owens, a Tennessee woman who pleaded guilty to hiring a hit man to kill her husband in 1985.

Owens, convicted in Shelby County, will now serve a life sentence, although she will be eligible to plead her case for release before the state’s parole board in 2012.

Bredesen cited several reasons for canceling her Sept. 28 execution, including wanting to stay true to the original plea deal Owens struck with prosecutors prior to her trial. She agreed to plead guilty in exchange for life in prison but the deal disappeared when her co-defendant, Sidney Porterfield, rejected the deal.

“Whereas, this appears to me an extraordinary death penalty case in which the defendant admitted her involvement in the murder of her husband and attempted to accept the district attorney’s conditional offer of life imprisonment,” read the official commutation. “This acceptance was ineffective only because of her co-defendant’s refusal to accept such an agreement.”

The “extraordinary death penalty case” had different results than all other similar convictions of women who were involved in their husbands’ murder.

He said his office reviewed 33 cases of women convicted for their involvement in their husbands’ murder. Thirty of those women were sentenced to life in prison, one without the possibility of parole.

The remaining two were sentenced to death. Former Gov. Lamar Alexander commuted one and Bredesen said he is commuting the other.

He also said the woman may have been been abused by her husband. That doesn’t justify her actions, Bredesen said, but it should be taken into account.

“This case also raises unresolved allegations of domestic violence and emotional abuse that, while inconclusive, raise the possibility that the defendant suffered from the form of post traumatic stress disorder then known as battered woman syndrome,” the commutation continued.

Owens was convicted in 1986 of being an accessory in the murder-for-hire plot to kill Ron Owen. She is now housed at the Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville.

Bredesen said he hasn’t spoken to Owens, but did inform her attorney, George Barrett.

“This is not going to be decided on who’s for it or who’s against it or political pressure or anything else,” Bredesen told reporters.

This is the Democratic governor’s second commutation. In 2007, he commuted the sentence of Michael Joe Boyd, a man who was convicted for committing first-degree murder during a robbery. In that case, Bredesen said Boyd received “grossly inadequate legal representation” during his post conviction hearing.

Six people have been executed since 2000, according to the Department of Corrections. Eighty eight people are now on Tennessee’s death row.

Owens asked for the commutation on July 30, 2009. Her family began petitioning against her execution this spring.