Part II — Emergency agencies had busy year during 2013
by GREG KAYLOR Banner Staff Writer
Jan 05, 2014 | 1101 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
— (Second of 3 parts) —

Local law enforcement agencies and other emergency officials had a busy year in 2013. From car crashes to homicides or death investigations, some cases continue to be looked into while some have been resolved. This is the second of a three-part series recapping some of the activity in the emergency blotter during the past year.

n Area law enforcement made two arrests in a late April stabbing incident.

Police had issued warrants for Nathan Oliver Goforth, 32.

Goforth and an alleged accomplice identified as Melissa Dawn Patterson, 41, were arrested after a reported domestic disturbance at BI-LO on McGrady Drive.

The 911 Center had told officers that there were multiple calls in reference to a white male who had stabbed two females several times in the parking lot of BI-LO, according to Evie West, information officer for CPD. West identified the victims as Bridget Wagner and Angela Thomas.

“Wagner stated that she and Ms. Thomas were getting back into their vehicle when she heard Thomas scream. Wagner went to the driver side of the vehicle when she saw her ex-boyfriend, Goforth, stabbing Thomas in a swinging manner. Wagner tried to intervene when Goforth began to stab her. Thomas attempted to stop the assault on Wagner when Thomas was stabbed again by Goforth,” West said.

Two 4-year-old children were inside the vehicle which Thomas and Wagner had driven to the store, according to the report.

West said the female driver of the burgundy SUV pulled up and “yelled” for Goforth to “get in!” The person driving the SUV was identified as Patterson, 41, according to West. The vehicle then left the area heading toward APD 40. Criminal Investigations Division detectives were also dispatched to the scene to begin an investigation into the stabbing. Warrants for Goforth were issued for two counts of aggravated assault, according to West.

Patterson was charged with accessory after the fact. She pleaded guilty in Bradley County Criminal Court and was given a one-year suspended sentence. Goforth pleaded guilty and received eight years to serve in the Tennessee Department of Corrections, according to court officials.

n A former Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper and his family faced resolution in a case in which a child family member reportedly discharged a firearm in their home, killing her.

Kydalynn Robinson, 3, died in 2012.

Grandfather Tommie Graham, grandmother Debra Graham and Kydalynn’s mother, Elizabeth had been charged in her death.

The 3-year-old Kydalynn reportedly found a firearm belonging to Tommie Graham inside he and his wife’s bedroom on May 30, 2012, and died after the gun was fired. Judicial diversion was granted by the Bradley County Criminal Court.

Tommie Graham was indicted by a Bradley County grand jury on charges of criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment. His wife and two daughters were indicted on one count each of reckless endangerment.

n A local dance studio and building used to host parties and community events came under scrutiny after a shooting incident occurred outside the establishment in the summer.

Freddie Mora, owner of Luv2Dance, was allowed to continue business, but with some new rules and restrictions.

Bradley County Circuit Court Judge Larry Puckett agreed with an injunction regarding the way Mora is to do business in the future.

Both Mora and property owner/lessor Ora Teague were happy with the agreement signed by the judge.

The court action followed a shooting outside the studio when two people received minor injuries. It was the latest act of violence reported at the studio in connection with large crowds that had gathered for parties. Alcohol was present at the studio party.

Luv2Dance doesn’t serve alcohol, but it was previously allowed to be brought by individuals. New restrictions have since been put in place by the court.

Assistant District Attorney General Stephen Hatchett filed a Petition to Abate Nuisance aimed at the studio located on 20th Street and King Edward Avenue, in response to the shooting and to a series of other late-night incidents which included multiple reports of fights.

Police had responded to the building, which Mora leases for birthday parties, family reunions, dance instruction, martial arts instruction, exercise classes and other events. The late-night parties included individuals who brought alcohol into the building.

Shots were fired in the parking lot after the party had ceased for the evening, according to reports.

According to Hatchett, Mora had rented the building for several parties during the past one to 1 1/2 years.

During that duration, police responded numerous times to reports of fighting and other calls for assistance.

Up to 300 people were reportedly at the party July 28.

n Shooting suspect Alina Sherlin was freed from the Bradley County Jail, posting $100,000 bond in connection with the death of Robert Dewayne Julian, 45, in early August.

Sherlin, 43, was arrested after Cleveland Police Department officers responded to a welfare check at her Greenwood Avenue home. She was charged with first-degree murder.

Sherlin reportedly texted several friends, telling them she had shot Julian.

Police arrived on the scene and found Julian inside the Greenwood Avenue residence.

According to the affidavit, officers noted a rifle on the floor near Julian’s body.

They determined Julian had died “from a single, small caliber bullet to his chest.”

The case is still pending in Bradley County Criminal Court.

n A fire in south Cleveland in the early morning hours of Aug. 22, destroyed a plastics business. Firefighters fought the massive blaze all night long, according to officials.

Polymer Components, located near Tindall’s Building Supply on 20th Street S.E., was 28,000 square feet of industrial building and its contents. This included equipment, supplies and finished plastic components, all of which were all destroyed. The cost of the fire was initially estimated at $600,000. A passerby had spotted the fire from South Ocoee Street, according to 911 reports.

n Just hours after being placed on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Top 10 Most Wanted list, Howard Callaway, 39, was taken into custody in the White Oak community of Bradley County, where he had been on the run.

U.S. Marshals Service personnel along with Bradley County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Callaway, who was wanted on a federal parole violation and multiple counts of aggravated burglaries. The Tennessee Highway Patrol had dispatched a helicopter early in the manhunt.

The pilot scanned the mountainous region of southwest Bradley County since the incident Monday when Callaway and April Gammill, 34, evaded arrest by a TBI agent during a traffic stop on Bancroft Road at Harrison Pike.

Gammill was taken into custody Tuesday morning after being spotted by residents near the Mountain Road area. She has been charged with violation of probation, misdemeanor violation of probation, felony evading, resisting arrest and simple possession of narcotics, according to reports. Callaway was taken to the Bradley County Jail, where he was booked on 32 counts of aggravated burglary, aggravated evading, and violating federal probation for methamphetamine charges, according to officials.

Officials also noted investigation into Callaway is still ongoing and other charges are possible at this time. He is still incarcerated in federal custody.

Gammill pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in TDOC custody.

n Donnie Ray Brantley was charged in August with the murder of his wife, who has been missing since 2009.

Marsha Brantley disappeared in June 2009 and was reported missing by friends, according to niece Jana Wills of Greeneville. Marsha had been employed by Lee University.

Donnie Brantley was charged with first-degree murder after a Bradley County grand jury returned an indictment. He was taken into custody in the Bradley Criminal courtroom, where he was to face a status hearing in a case where he was charged with hindering a creditor.

He entered a plea of not guilty and bond was set at $500,000.

The bond has since been reduced to $300,000; however, bond for the hindering a creditor charge was $100,000.

According to investigators with the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, Donnie Brantley had been living in Kingston, Ga.

He was arrested in November 2012 by the U.S. Marshal’s Service after investigators found the Denali RV on property owned by some of his family members.

According to the investigation, officials alleged Brantley was attempting to keep creditors from repossessing the RV.

Months after Marsha went missing, friends Kelly DeLude and Phyllis Dodd told Wills and other members of Marsha’s family that Donnie Brantley said Marsha had left him.

Donnie Brantley never reported her missing.

An investigation was initiated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Bradley County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division in fall 2009.

Donnie Brantley remains incarcerated at the Bradley County Jail pending further proceedings.

n Natasha Moses Bates was sentenced to two life sentences in the deaths of her sons in 2012, during an extreme heat wave which blanketed the South.

The jury learned the case was about the illegal drug methamphetamines as well as child neglect, according to the prosecutor, assistant District Attorney General Stephen Hatchett.

Bates, 27 at the time, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated child neglect, four counts of initiating methamphetamine manufacturing, and promotion of manufacturing meth at her Keith Valley Road residence.

River Bates, 3, and Leland Bates, 5, were found to have died as the result of what investigators alleged — being inside a hot car on a day when temperatures rose above 100 degrees.

After discovering the children had been affected, Natasha Bates transported them to her father’s house, from which 911 was called.

Initial reports to 911 indicated a possible drowning due to the fact their bodies were wet and that Natasha Bates told her father the boys had been playing on a slip-and-slide water toy.

Investigators pieced together evidence which reportedly suggested the boys were not being watched and got inside the car during the extreme daytime heat, causing them to suffer hyperthermia, or elevated core body temperatures.

Natasha Bates is serving time in the Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville.

She will be eligible for parole in 2072.

n Two women died on the Ocoee River in two separate whitewater rafting accidents the same weekend.

Marnita McGruder, 51, of Rex, Ga., died after falling from a raft into the rapid nicknamed “Grumpy’s.” McGruder and another rider fell from the same raft into the water. The other rider made it out of the water safely, according to reports.

Boat crews immediately removed McGruder from the water and began CPR. Law enforcement and medical crews arrived on the scene within minutes of the incident. McGruder was taken to Copper Basin Medical Center where she died later, according to reports.

Katherine Tyler Luna, 36, of Smyrna, died when the raft she was riding in became stuck in the “Grumpy’s” rapid.

Matt Price of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said his initial investigation revealed several people went overboard into the water and a rescue rope bag was deployed. Luna was able to grab onto the rope and was conscious prior to reaching the shore.

She then lost consciousness and guides got her out of the water through the help of nearby kayakers. CPR was initiated by a state park ranger, according to Price.

Price noted that in both incidents, the victims were part of family and friends’ excursions.