Two Knox deputy jailers face criminal charges

By Bobbie Poynter

The Knox County grand jury indicted two jail employees Friday on criminal abuse, official misconduct and assault charges.

The indictment states Deputy Jailers Sheila Brown and Jennifer Ross intentionally abused inmate Tammy Spicer by striking her. Spicer, who, according to the indictment, was physically helpless at the time, and the deputy jailers placed her in a situation that might have caused her serious physical injury or by causing torture, cruel confinement or cruel punishment while in their custody.

“At the Knox County Detention Center, we have a zero tolerance police for violence against inmates,” said Jailer Mary Hammons. “That is why I have and will continue to fully cooperate with the investigation.

Currently, Brown and Ross are on unpaid leave from the jail. They are scheduled to be back in court on Dec. 1 for a pre-trial hearing.

The Knox County Grand Jury also returned the following indictments:

• John Ray Gray, 27, of Gray: Second Degree Burglary, Theft by Unlawful Taking.

• Dustin Messer, 25, of Barbourville, Alive Elam, 35, of Barbourville, and Carson Woolum, 38, of Barbourville: two counts of Second Degree Burglary, Theft by Unlawful Taking, and First Degree Criminal Mischief, Messer and Woolum: Theft by Unlawful Taking, Alvie Elam: First Degree Persistent Felony Offender.

• Tip Miller, 27, of Hinkle, Willie Shepherd, 40, of Bimble, and Brice Mills, Jr.: Theft by Unlawful Taking, Miller was also indicted on four counts of First Degree Fleeing or Evading the Police, four counts of First Degree Wanton Endangerment, Receiving Stolen Property, Resisting Arrest, Public Intoxication, Second Degree Possession of a controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Operating a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of Intoxicants, and Second Degree Persistent Felony Offender.

• Willie T. Shepherd, 40, of Bimble: First Degree Wanton Endangerment, two counts of First Degree Fleeing or Evading the Police, First Degree Promoting Contraband, Public Intoxication, and two counts of Third Degree Possession of a Controlled Substance.

• Gwendolyn L. Smith, 44, of Gray: First Degree Assault, and First Degree Wanton Endangerment.

• Damien Stubblefeild, 33, of Bear Branch: First Degree Bailjumping.

• Mark Tuttle, 24, of Cannon, and Rachel Johnson, 26, of Barbourville: Second Degree Burglary, and Theft by Unlawful Taking.

• Joshua Vandusen, 22, of Barbourville: four counts of First Degree Sodomy, four counts of First Degree Sexual Abuse, four counts of Incest.

• Charles W. Warfield II, 46, of Artemus, and Pamela M. Warren, 41, of Georgetown: First Degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance and Public intoxication, Warfeild was also indicted for Tampering With Physical Evidence, First Degree Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of a Handgun by a Convicted Felon, Receiving Stolen Firearm, Third Degree Possession of a Controlled Substance, Second Degree Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of a Controlled Substance in an Improper Container.

Brown and Ross are currently under a $2,500 surety bond and are due to return to court for a pre-trial hearing on Dec. 15.