New Traffic Lights Now Operational
Man Pleads Guilty To Sexual Battery
Reagan Murder Trial Set For January 2001
Traffic Lights Now Operational
Area motorists are urged to use caution at Livingston's
new traffic lights at the intersection of the Livingston By-Pass
and Highway 52. The traffic lights became operational on Monday,
June 26, as the old four-way stop signs were removed. Several near
misses have already been seen as motorists still treat the intersection
as a four-way stop, not yet realizing that the lights are now operational.
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Pleads Guilty To Sexual Battery
By Robert Forsman
An Overton County man pled guilty last week in Criminal
Court to aggravated sexual battery of a child under the age of 13.
Jefferson Willard Hammonds Sr., 54, of Rickman, entered
the plea as part of an agreement arranged by Assistant District
Attorney Tammy Hobby and defense attorney Jimmy White.
Hammonds was sentenced to 8 years in prison to be
served at 85 percent as required by Tennessee law in sex crimes
against children. At that percentage, Hammonds will be eligible
for release in January of 2007.
First-time criminal offenders, not charged with sex
crimes against children or violent crimes, commonly serve prison
sentences at the rate of 30 percent.
The Overton County Grand Jury indicted Hammonds in
April 1999 on three counts of rape of a child, three counts of incest,
and two counts of aggravated sexual battery of a child. All counts,
except aggravated sexual battery of a child, were dismissed as part
of the plea agreement.
According to Assistant D.A. Hobby, the sexual battery
offense occurred between May and September of 1998.
Upon entry of the guilty plea, Judge Lillie Ann Sells
asked Hammonds, "Are you pleading guilty because you are guilty?"
"In my best behalf," Ham-monds said, "I'll
"You need to understand," Judge sells said,
"no matter what you call it, this will go on your record as
a guilty plea. Do you understand?Ó
"Yes," Hammonds replied.
Hammonds will be listed on the registry of convicted
sexual offenders. A sample of his blood will be submitted for DNA
Attorney White requested that Hammonds be allowed
to remain free on a $50,000 bond until June 29.
The victim's father objected to allowing Hammonds
to remain free.
"May I speak, Your Honor?" he asked.
"Yes," Judge Sells said.
"This has been going on for a couple years now,"
he said. "This has been going on for too long."
"This court rules," Judge Sells said, "that
this defendant be placed in custody and taken to jail."
The defendant was placed in custody and transported
to the Overton County Jail, where he will await transport to a Department
of Corrections prison.
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Murder Trial Set For January 2001
A trial date has been set for the murder charge against
an Allons man accused of killing his wife with an explosive.
Judge Lillie Ann Sells set January 16, 2001 as the
date for the trial of Timmy Reagan, charged with 1st degree murder
of his wife, Christy Reagan.
Reagan did not appear in court on Tuesday, June 20
when Judge Sells set the date, but his counsel, public defender
Art Johnson, was present to represent him.
In response to a question from Judge Sells about scheduling
the case, Johnson said, "Both sides agree it may be a little
early for scheduling."
Judge Sells said, "I beg to differ. We're going
to push on. We're going to set it for trial." In response to
a question about discovery evidence being sent from the District
Attorney's Office to the public defender, Assistant District Attorney
Owen Burnett said, "The reports are voluminous. It will take
two to three days to read thoroughly. Photographs are on the way
to the public defender's office.Ó
Judge Sells said, "First degree murder is a priority,
according to the laws of this state. You may want to keep that in
mind, gentlemen. I am setting this case for trial on January 16,
2001. That date will not be changed. I will not continue this case
for lawyers, for seminars, for vacations."
Judge Sells set August 23 for the first scheduling
conference and motions hearing. Such hearings will occur on approximately
a monthly basis until the trial.
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Langford Announces For Re-Election
David Langford, who currently serves on the Overton
County Board of Education as the First District representative,
has informed the News that he plans to run for re-election to the
Overton County School Board in District One in the upcoming Thursday,
August 3, 2000 election. His statement is as follows:
"I have tried my best to represent the First
District as fairly and honestly as I know how.
"As a parent, I realize the importance of a
good school system, and that is what I have worked for during my
"If the voters of the First District see fit
to return me for another four-year term, I promise to continue to
do my best for all the children of Overton County.
"Your vote on Thursday, August 3, will be greatly
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Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570