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Archives 06-27-2001

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LMS Class Pictures Left Out In The Rain
Kidnapping Case Bond Stands At $1 Million
Three-Star Award Earned Locally


 

LMS Class 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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Kidnapping 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 handgun.

"Were you afraid?" Judge Burns asked.

"I was terrified," she said.

"Did he have a gun?" Assistant DA Burnett asked.

"Yes," she replied."

"Did he say anything? 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 him in.

"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?" Burnett asked.

"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 threatened her.

"He had the gun out," she said. "It was out."

The attorney asked where the bullet would have gone if the gun had discharged.

She replied, "I don't know where the bullet would have gone."

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 said.

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, 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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Three-Star 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 Preparedness Program.

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 acreage.

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
tel 931.823.6485
fax 931.823.6486
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