By BRIAN GRAVES
Ricky Jan Stevison has reached a plea agreement with state prosecutors concerning charges against him for knowingly exploiting and adult and theft over $10,000.
Ricky Jan Stevison has reached a plea agreement with state prosecutors concerning charges against him for knowingly exploiting an adult and theft over $10,000.
According to the plea deal, Stevison plead guilty to a Class D felony last week in a Polk County courtroom.
He received a suspended two-year prison sentence, pending his restitution to the family. A hearing on the specifics of the restitution is to be held in March.
Stevison was arrested on warrants in January 2016, for knowingly exploiting an adult and theft over $10,000.
He was accused of stealing over $10,000 in jewelry, a watch and coins, according to BCSO Detective Mike Hughes, who was in charge of the investigation. These items were allegedly taken from a safe deposit box at a local bank in August 2015, reports said.
He was the caregiver for Forrest "Jack" Coleman of Cleveland, who was suffering from dementia at the time of Stevison's arrest, according to the family. Stevison and Chattanooga attorney John Wolfe, who claimed to be advising Stevison earlier, claimed at a February news conference that Coleman was not in fact suffering from dementia.
Wolfe claimed those charges were eventually dropped and that Coleman never suffered from dementia; however, Wolfe never defended Stevison as Criminal Court Judge Sandra Donaghy appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent him during his arraignment hearing in April, after the grand jury returned an indictment in the case.
Family friend Linda Bryant, who was speaking with the authority of the Coleman family, said Stevison was actually wearing Coleman’s necklace during that press conference.
“[Wolfe] saying the charges had been dropped, but we couldn’t say anything because we knew it wasn’t true,” Bryant said. “No charges had ever been dropped, it had just been moved to another court and then the grand jury indicted him. We knew that was coming.”
Bryant said her understanding of the restitution hearing is there will be a review of the property which has been recovered.
“What he has left, he will have to give to the DA,” Bryant said. “Then we will look to see what is there and what is missing. The appraisal on the jewelry that is still missing will be the amount of restitution.”
Bryant said prosecutors have told the family that restitution will have to be paid back by the end of the two-year time period, or Stevison will face jail time.
“Hats off to the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, because they were great in this case,” Bryant said, adding credit also goes to Hughes, who “found everything at the pawn shop.”
She said the family was also appreciative of the efforts of DA Drew Robinson and the 10th District Attorney General’s Office.
“I don’t want to say it was the best outcome for us, but we’re emotionally invested in it and we have to take a step back and look at this from a practical standpoint,” she said. “I think the state had our best interests and Jack’s best interests at heart.”
Print subscribers have FREE access to clevelandbanner.com by registering HERE
Non-subscribers have limited monthly access to local stories, but have options to subscribe to print, web or electronic editions by clicking HERE
We are sorry but you have reached the maximum number of free local stories for this month. If you have a website account here, please click HERE to log in for continued access.
If you are a print subscriber but do not have an account here, click HERE to create a website account to gain unlimited free access.
Non-subscribers may gain access by subscribing to any of our print or electronic subscriptions HERE