LMS Class Pictures Left Out In The Rain
Kidnapping Case Bond Stands At $1 Million
Three-Star Award Earned Locally
Pictures Left Out In The Rain
Becky Meredith/OCN staff
Several class pictures were found out in the rain
at Livingston Middle School Friday, June 22. Donald Hogue of Custom
Enterprises, a subcontractor working on renovating the school, noticed
the pictures outside the building and covered them with a tarp,
then notified the Overton County School System Central Office. According
to Director of Schools Bill Needham, the pictures had apparently
been moved outside during the work at the school. Needham said the
pictures are currently at the Central Education Office and apparently
have no damage other than broken glass on one or two.
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Case Bond Stands At $1 Million
By Robert Forsman
A motion to reduce the $1 million bond of kidnapping
suspect Carter Masters was denied by Judge Leon Burns in Overton
County Criminal Court last week.
Masters was indicted April 23 by the Overton County
Grand Jury on charges of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated
burglary, and two counts of aggravated assault.
Masters, 76, was arrested in Daytona Beach, FL, on
March 23 after allegedly kidnapping his wife Ruth Masters five days
earlier in Overton County.
The couple appeared in Overton County General Sessions
Court the preceding week. The wife, who had filed for divorce, petitioned
the court for an order of protection against Masters. Judge John
Officer granted the order.
The divorce was finalized after Masters' arrest. The
alleged victim, who resumed her prior last name, was referred to
as Mrs. Thrasher during last week's hearing.
Assistant District Attorney Owen Burnett asked Thrasher
is she was afraid of Masters.
"Yes," she replied.
"You want him out on bond?" Burnett asked.
"No," she replied.
Thrasher testified that Masters said if she didn't
go with him three people would be dead.
When Masters allegedly made the threat, his wife,
her granddaughter, and a 4 year-old child were in a room with Masters.
An 18 month-old was in a nearby room, according to testimony.
Thrasher testified she agreed to go with him and
drove her car to his residence, where they switched vehicles and
left in his van.
"You agreed to go with him, so he wouldn't hurt
the others in the house?" Judge Burns asked.
"Yes," Thrasher replied.
Thrasher testified they stopped in Sparta where Masters
purchased a battery for his van.
According to testimony, Masters drove to the Keys,
then up the east coast of Florida to Daytona Beach. Thrasher was
allowed to phone home several times during the trip.
Before his arrest at a Daytona Beach motel, 29 guests
were evacuated from their rooms.
Masters was arrested when he came out of his room
to check on an accident involving his van, staged by law enforcement
personnel. Masters was transported to Tennessee and confined in
the Overton County Jail. Judge Officer set the $1 million bond in
general sessions court.
During last week's hearing, Thrasher's granddaughter
testified that Masters threatened her and her grandmother with a
"Were you afraid?" Judge Burns asked.
"I was terrified," she said.
"Did he have a gun?" Assistant DA Burnett
"Yes," she replied."
"Did he say anything?Ó Burnett asked.
She replied, "He said you have 30 minutes to
start talking or they're going to find three dead bodies."
The granddaughter testified that she tried to grab
the gun, which Masters reportedly carried in his belt.
"As he was talking, I attempted to get the gun,"
she said. "He was stronger. He pushed me back."
The granddaughter testified that she picked up the
4 year-old and started to exit the room.
Burnett asked what happened next.
"He cocked the gun," she replied. "Said
if you go out that door, you'll go out a dead woman."
The granddaughter testified that Masters told her
he had $10,000 set aside to hire someone to kill her if she turned
"If his bond was reduced and he was let out of
jail, would you be afraid?" Burnett asked.
"Yes," she replied.
"Would you be afraid for your grandmother?"
"The first thing he would do if he got out is
kill me and my grandmother," she replied.
Masters' attorney asked if she saw the gun when Masters
"He had the gun out," she said. "It
The attorney asked where the bullet would have gone
if the gun had discharged.
She replied, "I don't know where the bullet would
Masters' son testified that his father wasn't dangerous
and that Masters could stay with him in Georgia if released from
jail on a lower bond.
Masters' attorney said, "There's a million dollar
bond in this case. That's the same as no bond."
Assistant DA Burnett said, "We think a million
dollar bond is perfectly appropriate in this case because of his
vengeful and evil mindset."
Masters held up a food item and described it as part
of a lunch he had received at jail.
"The court will take note of the burned sandwich,"
Judge Burns said.
Masters' attorney said, "I've advised him not
to testify. If he so chooses, it's not in his best interest."
"What I'm going to say won't be pleasant to hear,"
Judge Burns told Masters.
"You've only heard one side of the story,"
Masters' attorney advised him to say nothing else.
Masters replied, "I don't think I need you anymore."
"It's my turn to talk now,Ó Judge Burns said.
"His aggressiveness in the courtroom is part of his problem.
I don't think he's a risk to run. I think the greater threat is
to the victim and her granddaughter. Wherever he goes, he's a real
threat. I think the bond is appropriate."
Judge Burns deadlined the case for August 30. At that
time a plea agreement could be entered or a trial date set.
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Award Earned Locally
Governor Don Sundquist has announced that Livingston-Overton
County has successfully completed criteria to be recertified for
the fifth year under the Governor's Three-Star Community Economic
Overton County community leaders accepted the award
on Tuesday, April 17 at the annual Three-Star Awards Ceremony held
at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel.
Sundquist said, "I commend Livingston and Overton
County leaders and community volunteers whose collective investment
of time, energy, and resources earned this award for their community.
"They have demonstrated an outstanding level
of cooperation, teamwork, and civic-minded-ness that will ready
them for future economic development opportunities."
The goals of the Three-Star Program are to preserve
existing employment, create new employment opportunities, improve
family income and create a strong leadership base for economic development.
Since its beginning nearly two decades ago, the program
has steadily grown each year as new communities work with the state
to enhance their appeal as locations for business and industry.
Alex Fischer, Economic and Community Development commissioner,
said, "Tennessee's Three-Star communities have gone the extra
mile to prepare and compete for economic development opportunities,
and the awards ceremony offers us an opportunity to recognize their
dedication and highlight their accomplishment."
Communities and counties earning the Three-Star Award
undergo recertification by the Department of Economic and Community
Development (ECD) yearly to assure standards of preparedness for
economic growth have been sustained locally.
Certification under the program requires maintenance
of a formal economic development organization with an annual work
program, including community and business development, education
improvement, and leadership development. The program also calls
for maintenance of adequate infrastructure capable of supporting
economic development, as well as availability of developed industrial
Jimmy Earle, ECD assistant commissioner of Community
Development, said, "The Three-Star Program is a valuable and
effective tool to assist communities in developing the necessary
leadership and infrastructure to become vibrant business locations
and to encourage community prosperity."
Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570