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101.5 The One FM 101.5 The One FM commented on their own status.26.01.2015 at 01:00 pmLike
101.5 The One FM A Dickson County jury convicted Edward Joseph Benesch II of aggravated child neglect and voluntary manslaughter for the 2013 death of 18-month-old Somarah Camilla Smith. After a four-day trial and almost eight hours of deliberation, the seven-man, five-woman jury announced its verdict at 11:32 pm Saturday in Dickson County Circuit Court. The jury acquitted the 28-year-old Benesch on a charge of aggravated child abuse and felony murder by child abuse. Judge Larry Wallace scheduled a sentencing hearing for April 8. Aggravated child neglect is a Class A felony with a sentence range of 15-25 years. Voluntary manslaughter is a Class C felony with a sentence range of 3-6 years. Had he been convicted of either count of felony murder, Benesch would have received an automatic life sentence after prosecutors withdrew their intent to seek life without parole on Friday. Assistant District Attorney Carey Thompson said he likely will seek a sentence in the upper range of each count due to the age of the victim and Benesch's previous felony convictions. Defense attorney Olin Baker said he is “disappointed” with the jury's verdict and will wait to see what happens at the sentencing hearing before making a decision whether to appeal. Although Benesch did not take the stand during the trial, the jury apparently believed his claim to police that Somarah's injuries were the result of a fall while he was carrying her down the steps of the porch at the Rocky Drive mobile home where he was living with his sister. One prosecution witness testified he saw Benesch snort cocaine and punch Somarah in the ribs after getting mad that she had lost a sock the night of March 6, 2013. But in a brief defense presented Friday evening, two men identified by John Rayburn as having been at the home that night both denied being present. Shannon Edmondson said he was at his mother's house that night and also denied telling then-TBI Agent Mike Breedlove that he would side with Benesch no matter what the evidence shows and even if he knew something would not tell the police because Benesch was like a brother to him. Jonathan Lane also denied being at the home that night, telling Breedlove that Benesch was like a brother to him. Edmondson and Lane both testified the last time they were with Benesch at the Rocky Drive mobile home was the night of the college football national championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame, which was Jan. 7, 2013. They said Benesch was there with Somarah and Havyn, the two children of Jill Smith that were left in Benesch's care. But Smith testified that she was not arrested until Feb. 14, 2013, and never left her children with Benesch prior to that and she and her children were not at the mobile home the night of the football game. In closing arguments Saturday, Thompson held up a multi-colored child's sock that was found in the mobile home and told the jury, “It's a sock. It's a little baby's sock. It's not worth very much. You can probably get a pack of them at the Dollar Store for a buck. But actually it's priceless because it's a little baby's sock.” Baker said Somarah Smith died as a result of a “tragic accident” and that the morning following the fall, Benesch had a “freak-out moment” when he realized the child was seriously injured and dropped her off at her aunt's house on Brookside Drive. Baker placed part of the blame for the child's death on the Dickson County Sheriff's Office, which left the children in Benesch's care at Smith's direction when she was arrested, and the Tennessee Department of Children's Services, which he said “never intervened” when the children's father contacted the state from jail with concerns about their safety. Baker said Benesch's emotional statement in an interview with police that “A little girl's dead, man. It's my fault. All my fault,” was his client blaming himself for the accident. In his closing statement, District Attorney Ray Crouch called Baker's claims that law enforcement and the medical examiner's office are all agents of the government and conspired to present evidence against Benesch “offensive” and “disgusting.” Crouch placed a six-pack of beer and a pack of cigarettes on the rail in front of the jury and pulled a receipt out of his wallet saying Benesch valued Somarah's life at $12.42 when he went to the store that night instead of seeking medical help for the child. Just before 8:30 Saturday night, the jury asked to see the video of Benesch's statement to police again and three hours later announced the verdict. They found him not guilty on one count of felony murder by child abuse and all the included lesser charges and not guilty of aggravated child abuse. He was found guilty of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter on an original charge of felony murder by child neglect and guilty on one charge of aggravated child neglect, which the prosecution argued was warranted by Benesch's own admission that he did not take the child to the hospital because he was “too drunk,” but still went to the store for beer and cigarettes. Benesch remains in custody pending his sentencing hearing April at 09:54 amLike
101.5 The One FM The Dickson County Sheriff's Office is investigating Friday's discovery of a woman's body at Montgomery Bell State Park. Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe said Sunday that investigators are “still waiting on the state medical examiner for positive identification and cause of death,” and could not release any further information at this time. According to sources with knowledge of the investigation, the body was discovered inside a vehicle parked in the area of the inn and conference center at the state park. Those sources said the body was in an advanced state of decomposition, leading investigators to look into the possibility that the body might have been there for several months. Two independent sources have said the vehicle had a Shelby County registration and the name of the registered owner matches the name of a woman who was a guest at the park in October. Testifying in an unrelated murder trial in Charlotte Friday, Dr. Tom Deering of the state medical examiner's office explained an autopsy is to make two determinations: a manner of death and a cause of death. The manner of death is normally one of five options: natural, accidental, suicide, homicide or undetermined. Evidence from the body is also used when possible to determine a cause of death, but that is not always possible within medical certainty. While the sheriff's office is not releasing any further details pending the medical examiner's ruling, sources at the scene have said the body was discovered inside an SUV parked in a roadside area near the inn around 1 pm Friday. The sources say the park's rangers had been aware of the vehicle but believed it belonged to a woman who had lost her keys while staying at the park and had said she would return to get the vehicle. The SUV reportedly had tinted windows making it difficult to see inside without walking up to the vehicle. One source reports the woman listed as the registered owner is believed to have been heading to a drug treatment facility in a neighboring county. Bledsoe said he could not confirm any of those circumstances and would not comment any further until a positive identification is made by the medical examiner. He said the investigation will proceed based on the medical examiner's findings. The sheriff did not say when he expects the autopsy results to be completed.26.01.2015 at 09:53 amLike
101.5 The One FM The owner of a downtown Dickson restaurant was arrested twice last week for violating restrictions of the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry. 44-year-old Carmen Anthony Leato is charged with employing juveniles, working within 1,000 feet of daycares or a public park and failing to have a sex offender designation on his driver's license, according to arrest warrants from the Dickson Police Department. Leato is identified as the co-owner and a supervisor at Michelle's restaurant at 104 North Main Street in Dickson. According to Det. Josh Ethridge's statement in the arrest warrants, Leato “has interviewed, hired and supervised employees under 18 years of age,” which is a prohibited activity under Tennessee's Sex Offender Registry. The registry's restrictions also prohibit anyone from living or working within 1,000 feet of any school, daycare, public park or other location in which children are present on a regular basis. Ethridge's warrant says Michelle's is within 1,000 feet of daycares at First United Methodist Church and Walnut Street Church of Christ and Holland Park in downtown Dickson. Leato's registration on the TBI's Sex Offender Registry lists 104 North Main Street as his employment address and Ethridge said Leato's name and signature are on documents for the business. The warrants also charge Leato obtained a Tennessee driver's license on Jan. 5 and “failed to disclose that he was a registered sex offender,” for which a designation is included on the license. Leato was arrested on those charges Wednesday and released on $9,000 bond. On another warrant obtained Friday, Ethridge said he received a report that Leato was seen inside Michelle's and sent two plainclothes officers into the restaurant, who allegedly observed Leato in the kitchen engaging with other employees. He was arrested on another count of violating the work restrictions and released on $100,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in Dickson Municipal Court Feb. 19. Leato is listed on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry as having a 1987 conviction for criminal sexual assault in Illinois. The Illinois Sex Offender Registry shows Leato as having transferred his registration to Tennessee after previously being charged with failing to update the information in a timely fashion. The Tennessee registry lists Leato's residential address as 150 Suzanne Drive, Room 119, in Dickson, which is the Super 8 Motel. In the arrest warrant, Ethridge says Leato gave an address of 511 Spring St. in Charlotte for his driver's license, which could lead to an additional registry violation. In several posts on Facebook, Leato's wife Michelle Mangiapane says her husband is the target of harassment by the police and they plan to file a lawsuit against the detective and department. She says the business is in her name and her husband does not work there, but only provides her advice on its operation.26.01.2015 at 09:53 amLike
101.5 The One FM For the first time this season, Dickson County High School dropped both games of a doubleheader. On a night when the CougarNation honored retiring Lady Cougars coaches Eve and Henry Hamilton, the Lady Cougars dropped their first District 11-AAA contest 49-42 to Brentwood, to split the season series and fall into a tie for first place with the Lady Bruins at 8-1. After a 17-point loss at home, Brentwood successfully shut down Dickson County's inside game Friday night and forced the Lady Cougars to shoot from the perimeter. Dickson County shot only 23 percent from distance and did not connect on a three-pointer until the fourth period. The Lady Bruins scored the first five points of the game and held that margin, leading 15-10 at the end of the first period and 25-20 at the half. They padded the lead to seven by the end of the third and held that margin to the final buzzer. Carlee Wilson led Dickson County with 14 points while Payton Grove scored 11. Dickson County had won 10 straight since a tournament loss in Gatlinburg after opening the season winning their first 11. Brentwood snuffed the Cougars' two-game winning streak with a 58-38 victory despite the return of Dalton Rainey for Dickson County. Rainey suffered a concussion in a 23-point loss at Brentwood Jan. 2 and missed six games. The eighth-ranked Bruins came out of the gate to take a 20-5 lead in the first period and maintained a double-digit advantage for the rest of the game. Rainey led the Cougars in his return with 13 points. After winning back-to-back district games, Dickson County slips to 2-7 and 4-18 overall. Brentwood stays atop District 11-AAA at 8-1 and improved to 21-4 overall with a Saturday win over Brentwood Academy. Dickson County is back home Tuesday to host Summit.26.01.2015 at 09:53 amLike





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