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Archives 9-1-99

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Task Force Carries Out Drug Roundup
Flash Flood Flogs Livingston
School Board Holds Called Meeting
Man Shoots Wife, Police Shoot Man
Cost Of Going To Court Rising

Task Force Carries Out Drug Roundup
A multi-agency task force conducted a drug roundup last week, the result of a sting operation.

From 3 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 26 through Monday, Aug. 30, law enforcement personnel of the Livingston Police Department, Overton County Sheriff's Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol, TBI, ABC, and the Drug Task Force arrested and booked more than 50 suspects, including 10 juveniles, according to the Livingston Police Department. Juveniles were arrested on charges ranging from possession of marijuana, casual exchange, to sale of cocaine over .5 grams.

Police are still looking for six drug defendants believed to be out of the state.

Four vehicles were confiscated, as well as guns, cash, drugs, and drug paraphernalia, according to the LPD.

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Flash Flood Flogs Livingston
The most devastating flash flood in many years hit Overton County on Tuesday evening, Aug. 24.

Torrential rains accompanied by strong winds and continuous lightning strikes bombarded Overton County as it swept through on an eastward path. Flood waters covered roads in diverse areas of the county and broken trees fell across roads.

The Overton County Sheriff's Department was kept busy during the storm trying to assess what roads were impassable and warning motorists not to try to cross. Other emergency personnel were also involved in helping motorists avoid dangerous areas.

Homes were damaged from fallen trees and broken limbs, rain through damaged roofs, and flooding. Total damage to homes in the area is estimated at close to $200,000. Adding to the harm to many home owners is that water damage caused by flood is not covered by insurance in most cases unless the homeowner has a separate policy specifically to cover flood damage.

Local factories were also damaged in the storm. Hutchinson's facility on Airport Road was damaged by wind and KMA sustained water damage.

Rain poured through the roof at the Central Education Office, but the damage to county school buildings was apparently minimal.

The following day, tree trimmers and county and city personnel cleared debris from areas across the county, while Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation personnel checked lines for damage and turned off power where necessary for clean-up.

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School Board Holds Called Meeting
By Dewain E. Peek

The Overton County Board of Education held a called meeting Thursday, Aug. 26 with all members present.

The first item considered was approving the resolution of the Overton County Board of Education for payment of principal and interest on school bonds to be issued by Overton County.

Director of Schools Eldon Davis said, "This is the same resolution that was passed previously with section 4 deleted, and the deleted part is regarding interest that is on tax interest that the board would receive."

The Board adopted the amended resolution.

The second item considered was approval of financing alternatives for the Overton County Board of Education building program. The Board approved the plan calling for borrowing $10 million at one time, then borrowing the rest needed later.

Next the Board voted to pay the Board minutes recorder $75 per meeting. The person currently carrying out those duties, Kay Holbert, was not being paid for keeping the minutes because pay for the job was not designated to the position but to individuals.

The Board voted to add five additional days to Livingston Academy bookkeeper Carol Gilpatrick's salary because of the workload associated with keeping the school's books.

The meeting adjourned.

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Man Shoots Wife, Police Shoot Man
Two Dead Following Shoot-Out

The following is a combination of stories written by Tracey LeFevre and Mary Joe Denton reprinted by permission of the Herald-Citizen.
By Tracey LeFevre and Mary Jo Denton

Two people are dead today after a woman's estranged husband shot her to death early Friday night in the north Cookeville market where she worked and then he was fatally wounded by Putnam sheriff's deputies when he reportedly fired upon them.

Officials identified the dead as Jimmy Stover, 34, and Lisa Breeding Stover, 28, and some have theorized that their deaths were the result of a murder followed by an instance of what is being called in law enforcement circles as ‘suicide by police'.

It appears that the shooting, which happened between 6 and 7 p.m. at the M&M Trading Post about a mile north of the Cookeville city limits on Hilham Highway (State 136), just beyond Cookeville High School, might have grown out of an ongoing dispute between the two.

Reportedly, Lisa Stover had decided to divorce Jimmy Stover and had recently moved from Overton County to Putnam County. They had lived together in the Dodson's Chapel Community in the Rickman area. Family members told investigators that the couple had a history of domestic problems.

Not long before the shooting on Friday, the woman had apparently tried unsuccessfully in Overton County to obtain a restraining order against the man, the Herald-Citizen was told.

A Herald-Citizen newspaper carrier, who wished to remain anonymous, had stopped to deliver papers inside the store when the scenario began unfolding. He said the man first came into the store unarmed and was talking to the woman, who worked as a clerk there, about their problems.

"I really wasn't paying attention to their conversation because, at that time, neither one sounded particularly upset, but I think I remember hearing him ask if he could still see the kids," the newspaper carrier said.

"She told him in a nice way that she didn't have any problem with him seeing the kids, but she said she didn't want to talk about personal things at work," the carrier continued.

That's when Stover left the store and came back within about two minutes carrying a shotgun, the carrier said.

"By that time, I was heading for the door because I had to leave and finish the rest of my route, and he at first pointed the gun right at me," he said.

According to the carrier, Stover even fired a shot apparently at no one in particular and possibly as a warning for him and for another woman who was in the store to leave. "And I heard him tell her to get out," he said.

Before the carrier and the other woman in the store left, however, the carrier said he saw the woman clerk run into a back office or storage room and saw the man follow her.

"As I was going out the door, I heard him fire one shot, but I didn't know if he'd shot her or not. I just assumed he'd brought the gun in and fired it to try to scare her," he said.

Once the carrier was outside, he called 911 from a pay phone just outside the store's entrance, and while he was speaking to the emergency operator, he said he heard a couple more blasts fired inside the store.

"I almost know the 911 operator had to have heard them too," he said.

While the carrier was on the telephone with the emergency dispatcher, he said, Stover came to the door, stuck his head outside and said to the carrier, "Call the law."

Then, Stover immediately went back inside the building, he said.

And between the time the carrier got off the telephone with the 911 dispatcher and when the first sheriff's deputy arrived on the scene, he said he stationed himself near the front door and waved several customers away from the storefront.

"No one stopped to ask me why they couldn't go in, but several did give me some pretty strange looks," he said.

But Stover didn't emerge from the store until the first deputy on the scene, Dep. Bill Harris of the Putnam County Sheriff's Dept., pulled his patrol car into the store's parking lot.

Then, Stover came to the door and fired his shotgun into the deputy's car, the carrier said.

"If it had been me in that patrol car, I don't think I could have handled the situation as calmly as that deputy did. He handled himself real well," he said. "He just ducked down, got on his radio and, I reckon, radioed for more deputies."

As Sheriff's Detectives David Andrews and Donald Pierce, Chief Deputy Donnie Duncan, and Algood Policeman Buck Fowler were arriving on the scene, the carrier ran around the side of the building to try to get away from all possible lines of fire.

"I just went over to the side of the building to wait it out," he said.

And from where he'd moved to, he could no longer see the storefront, he said, but heard the rest of the scenario transpire as Stover came out shooting at the five officers, forcing them to return fire.

"For whatever reason, he came out of the store and must have started walking toward the deputies," he said.

The carrier said he heard one of the five officers order Stover to halt, and the next thing he heard was gunshots.

"From where I was standing at that particular time, I couldn't tell how many shots might have come from him and how many came from the deputies, but I did hear them order him to halt before any of those last shots were fired," he said.

Residents who lived near the store and witnessed the incident said they saw Stover "come out shooting" before the officers opened fire on him.

And authorities said the gunman was hit by three shots fired from the officers' guns, one in the head, one in the stomach area, and another in the left hand. Stover, who was still alive when ambulances arrived at the scene, was transported to Cookeville Regional Medical Center and died later on while in the emergency room, sources said.

Lisa Breeding Stover was found in the store dead of a single shotgun blast to the back.

Because the incident involved fatal gunshots fired by law enforcement, it is normal procedure for the investigation to be turned over to a different law enforcement agency. The TBI is currently investigating the incident.

Assistant District Attorney Ben Fann said, "I don't think any of them did anything wrong at all. If he hadn't been firing at them first, they wouldn't have had to open fire either."

And District Attorney Bill Gibson agreed.

"It's a shame that such a tragedy had to happen here in Putnam County, but the evidence indicates that the deputies did what they had to do," Gibson said. "My heart goes out to all of them today and to the families of the two victims."

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Cost Of Going To Court Rising
The cost of being brought into court is on the rise, creating a heavier burden for those not often thought of as committing crimes, according to some involved in the day-to-day workings of the local judicial system. The Overton County Legislative Body raised the litigation tax to the state maximum in its June 21 meeting, and the state tax will increase in October.

General Sessions Judge John Officer said, "In many cases, such as DUIs, court costs are not excessive due to the nature and seriousness of the offense. But for minor traffic offenses, such as improper passing and speeding violations, new court costs are terribly excessive."

Another who expressed concerns about the increasing costs is Circuit Court Clerk Johnny Brown.

"Court costs are scheduled to go up again in October," he said. "It's going to be too high for working class people to pay, because for many it will take one paycheck to pay one simple speeding ticket."

Court costs, as they went into effect on August 6, are listed in the accompanying sidebar.

   
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