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80 Years Ago

Archives 02-20-2002






Reagan found guilty of murdering wife in explosion
Hilham man charged with possession
Homecoming queen, court announced
Candidates Announce


Reagan found guilty of murdering wife in explosion

By ROBERT FORSMAN, court reporter

Timothy Reagan, 33, was convicted by an Overton County Jury last week of first degree murder for killing his wife Christy Smith Reagan, 29, in January 2000 with an explosion of dynamite he had placed in a car near the driver's seat where she was sitting.

The five-woman, seven-man jury returned the guilty verdict Saturday after deliberating three and a half hours.

Jury selection from a pool of approximately 100 jurors began Tuesday morning, Feb. 12, and concluded late in the evening.

Entry of evidence and testimony began Wednesday morning.

The jury was sequestered, lodged in an unidentified location, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. The jury, consisting of 15 members, 12 jurors and 3 alternates, was reduced to 14 when a member became ill during testimony about body parts found around the scene of the explosion.

Timmy Reagan, who was near the explosion, suffered injury to his left forearm, which was later amputated.

Following the explosion, which occurred on Tom Smith Lane in the driveway of his parents' home where Reagan and his wife resided, Reagan left the burning vehicle and walked into the residence without rendering aid to his wife who was still alive.

Timmy Reagan's mother Ruth Reagan, testified that she was awakened by a loud sound. She looked outside and saw a burning vehicle. She heard Christy yelling, "Help me! Help me!"

She called 911 and walked outside to help Christy.

"She was hurt," Assistant District Attorney Owen Burnett said.

"Yes," Ruth Reagan said. "She hollered to get her away from the car."

After Christy was pulled away from the vehicle, Ruth Reagan covered her with a comforter and remained with her until paramedics arrived.

Burnett asked if Christy said anything.

"She asked if her legs were still there," Ruth Reagan replied.

"I said yes. I assumed they were."

Burnett asked if Christy said anything else.

Ruth Reagan testified that Christy said Timmy had caused the explosion with dynamite a friend had given him.

"Did she say anything else?" Burnett asked.

Ruth Reagan testified that Christy said, "He did it."

"Followed by 'He meant to do it?'” Burnett asked.

"I think so," Ruth Reagan replied.

A witness, who described the explosion as sounding like thunder, said he looked out a window and saw fire and flames in the driveway next door. He ran to the scene and helped Christy.

The witness said, "Her feet were kind of in the car. Her body was outside."

"Was she asking for help?" Burnett asked.

"She was saying get me out," the witness said.

"How did that go?" Burnett asked.

"I tried to get her out," the witness said. "A neighbor came out and helped. I tried not to touch her where she was bleeding. We pulled her where she wouldn't burn up."

The witness testified that he saw Ruth Reagan cover Christie with a blanket, kneel and talk with her.

"Did you hear something Christy said to Ruth?” Burnett asked. "She said Timmy was drunk,” the witness replied.

"Did you hear anything about dynamite?" Burnett asked.

"She said he had dynamite," the witness replied. "Was playing with dynamite or something."

Another witness who lived nearby testified that when she arrived on the scene the car was on fire, the victim was lying on the ground and the defendant's mother was kneeling beside her.

"Did you hear Christy say anything?" Burnett asked.

"Christy was crying he did it on purpose," the witness said. "Said he meant to do it. Christy was crying so hard she couldn't breathe.”

"Did Timmy Reagan ever come out to check on his wife?" Burnett asked.

"Never," the witness said.

Another witness living nearby, who checked on Timmy Reagan, described the explosion as "a big boom that shook the trailer.” He said Reagan was in the house trying to tie a sweater around his injured arm to stop the flow of blood.

"He never asked about the victim?" Burnett asked.

The witness said Reagan didn't.

Another witness, who helped pull Christy from the burning car, said the explosion shook a nearby trailer he was in.

"I thought a vehicle had hit it," the witness said.

"Could you tell she was hurt?" Burnett asked.

"Oh, yes, definitely," the witness said.

"Did you hear the victim say anything?" Burnett asked.

"She said Timmy was drunk and had dynamite," replied the witness. She said her and Timmy were fighting when he set off the dynamite.”

According to law, statements made by dying victims are the same as sworn statements in court. Burnett asked the witness to describe the victim's injuries.

"Most of her right arm was gone," the witness said. "A large part of her right hip was missing."

Burnett asked a deputy who checked on Timmy Reagan to describe what happened in the house.

"It was very bloody," the witness said. "Reagan was on the floor. His arm was partially blown off.He asked me to cut the cord from the vacuum cleaner and tie it around his arm. He said, ‘Tie me off, you damn pig, or I'm going to die.' He never asked me about Christy Reagan."

Burnett asked another deputy who went inside if Reagan said anything.

"He asked if I was a cop," the deputy said. "I told him I was."

Burnett asked what Reagan said next. "He said, cool,” the deputy replied.

"Did he ask about his wife?" Burnett asked.

"No, sir," replied the deputy.

Burnett asked a paramedic, who treated Reagan's injuries while in the house, if Reagan was able to speak.

"Yes, sir," the paramedic asked.

"Did he at any time ask about Christy Reagan?" Burnett asked.

"No, sir," replied the paramedic.

A paramedic who treated Christy Reagan said the car was engulfed in flames when he arrived.

"Christy Reagan was on the ground, covered by a blanket," he said. "Her right arm was amputated just below the shoulder. Her right side had extensive trauma from her right armpit all the way down her hip. Bone was exposed. Open tissue was exposed."

"Did she say what happened?" Burnett asked.

"Yes, it was dynamite," the paramedic replied.

A Livingston Regional Hospital nurse who treated Timmy Reagan said he was very abusive and cursed her. Reagan had to be secured to a table with straps for his safety and the safety of the staff.

"The more I tried to comfort him, the angrier he got at me" the nurse said.

"He used the "F" word several times?” Burnett asked.

"Yes," replied the nurse.

"He never asked about his wife," Burnett said.

"Never," the nurse replied.

Reagan's attorney, Larry Warner, asked if it wasn't natural for someone with Reagan's injuries to be antagonistic.

"His anxiety should not have been with me,” the nurse said, "I was helping him."

Christy Reagan arrived at Livingston Regional Hospital shortly after midnight on January 17, 2000. Personnel from Overton County Ambulance Service arrived at the scene of the explosion at 11:36 p.m. The 911 call was received at 11:32 p.m.

According to an admissions clerk, when Christy arrived at the hospital she was saying, "I can't breathe. I can't breathe."

When asked if Timmy Reagan asked about his wife when he arrived at the hospital, the clerk said, "No."

According to an emergency room nurse, Christy had a rapid pulse at 12:05 a.m. Blood and fluids were intravenously administered. Pressure was applied to the wounds.

At 12:55 the victim's pulse dropped. At 12:56 a.m. her heart stopped. CPR and other life-saving methods were administered. Christy Reagan was pronounced dead. According to testimony, loss of blood was the cause of death.

Forensic pathologist Charles Harlan performed an autopsy on the victim's remains. Dr. Harlan testified that an area on Christy's right arm indicated a defensive posture, like she was trying to stop Timmy Reagan when the dynamite exploded.

Defense attorney Larry Warner said the dynamite went off accidentally.

Reagan, who didn't testify, had reportedly claimed he was saving the dynamite to search for Indian arrowheads by blowing up a bluff.

Several witnesses testified that looking for arrowheads by exploding dynamite would destroy any arrowheads that might be in the area of the explosion.

An expert for the prosecution testified that it was unlikely that dynamite would accidentally go off. Dynamite needs some type of item to produce a force to ignite a blasting cap, which in turn explodes and causes the dynamite to explode.

The remains of an item, described as the tip of a shock tube, a device that supplies the force needed to set off a blasting cap, was entered into evidence as being found behind the exploded vehicle, a 1995 four-door Ford Contour.

The explosion destroyed the car. Part of the windshield landed in a nearby tree. The top of the car blew off and landed 68 feet behind the vehicle. The passenger's door was ripped at the hinges. The driver's door was bent in the middle. The rear window was blown out. The rear upper frame was bent in a V-shape. Parts from the car were found in neighbors' yards.

A witness for the defense, described as an expert, testified that dynamite might explode accidentally.

An Overton County Jail inmate, arrested on the second day of the trial for failure to appear in court on a probation violation charge, also testified for the defense.

The inmate said he gave Reagan five or six sticks of dynamite, wire, and a device for setting off dynamite that he had stolen from a construction site in Henderson after being fired from a job with a blasting company.

"Why were you fired?" Burnett asked.

"Sleeping on the job," the defendant replied.

The case went to the jury for deliberation at 3:15 p.m. Saturday afternoon. They returned with a guilty verdict of murder in the first degree at 6:45 p.m.

Before the jury foreperson read the verdict, Judge Lillie Ann Sells said, "Every homicide case hurts a lot of people. This court is sympathetic to family members of both sides."

After Judge Sells dismissed the jury, ADA Burnett said, "Automatic sentencing applies in this case."

According to the automatic-sentencing law, Reagan is subject to life in prison with no chance of parole for 51 years.

Reagan has been in custody since being released from the hospital after receiving treatment for his injuries.

An order to transport Reagan to a Tennessee Department of Corrections prison has been filed. He will be transported as soon as a space is available.



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Hilham man charged with possession

By Becky meredith, ocn staff


In a joint investigation of Livingston Police Department and Overton County Sheriff's Department, a Hilham man was arrested for obtaining controlled substances last Friday.

Danny T. Hart, 45, was charged with four counts of obtaining or attempting to obtain a controlled substance by forgery or fraud, according to Captain Tim Emerton, with the Police Department.

"Two of those counts will be Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance Tylox for Resale and two counts of Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance OxyContin for Resale," Capt. Emerton said.

"He's also charged with two counts of Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance OxyContin for Delivery and two counts of Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance Tylox for Delivery."

Hart was reportedly incarcerated on a $15,000 bond, according to reports.

"It is my understanding he has made bond and is back out," Capt. Emerton said.

Also assisting in the arrest were Investigator Bill Randolph, with the Sheriff's Department, and Livingston Police Chief Roger Phillips.

Hart is reportedly out on parole in relation to other charges he faced in Kentucky.

His arraignment will be held next Monday.





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Homecoming queen, court announced


The 2002 Livingston Academy Basketball Homecoming queen and her court were presented during ceremonies held Tuesday, Feb. 12. They are, from left, Freshman Attendant Brittany Ray, daughter of Johnny and Sherry Ray, escorted by Jaime Gurley, son of Garry and Jill Sells, Junior Attendant Jade Carter, daughter of Jimmy and Janie Carter, escorted by Dustin Ferrell, son of Ricky and Debbie Ferrell, 2002 Homecoming Queen Jenna Baltimore, daughter of Allen and Karen Baltimore, escorted by Jeff Aldridge, son of Ben and Barbara Aldridge, and Joseph McGill, son of Tim and Kathy McGill, Senior Attendant Tatum Stephens, daughter of Tommy and Betsy Stephens, escorted by Jesse Wolfram, son of Donna Hummel and Tim and Karen Wolfram, and Sophomore Attendant Brittany Keisling, daughter of Britt Keisling and Melissa Smith, escorted by Kyle Copeland, son of Mike and Rita Copeland.



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Candidates Announce

Kameron Bates has informed Overton County News he plans to run for the office of Overton County Sheriff. His statement is as follows:

"I, Kameron Bates, wish to announce my candidacy for the Democratic nomination to the office of Overton County Sheriff.

"I graduated from Livingston Academy in 1963 and also attended college at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville. I received my military draft notice from Overton County in 1964 and subsequently joined the Navy. "During the Vietnam War, I served our country aboard a nuclear-powered fleet ballistic missile submarine. I saw service in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Mediterranean seas.

During my career in the military, I advanced through the enlisted ranks, the warrant officer ranks, and into the regular officer ranks, retiring in 1984 as a USN lieutenant. During the last part of my military career, I was responsible for overseeing the security of the Naval Reactors Nuclear Test Facility in Idaho.

"I have been a Tennessee Post Certified Law Enforcement Officer since 1993, serving as a police officer for the Town of Livingston, a deputy sheriff for Overton County, and presently a duly elected constable for our county. I have 18 years experience in law enforcement.

"I presently own and operate Bates Income Tax and Bookkeeping Service located on North Church Street.

"My wife of 37 years is Patricia A. (Shields) Bates, who is the granddaughter of the late Millard Savage of Allons. We have three grown children (one is deceased), and five fine grandchildren.

"My wife and I live on a farm in the Hilham area, which we purchased in 1970.

"My father is Robert Bates, 83 years of age, who resides on East McCormick Road in Livingston.

"If elected as sheriff, I will do my best to curb the drug traffic and theft that is on the rise in this county. I believe that the deputies that work for the sheriff are a direct reflection on the man in charge, and I will listen to and investigate any complaints brought against those working for me.

"I will strive to keep the costs of running the department as low as possible while meeting the demands of the citizens of this county. I also believe that the Sheriff's Department should be courteous and friendly with the citizens of this county earning your trust and respect.

"Please come out and vote on May 7 for Kameron Bates, Democratic candidate for Sheriff of Overton County."



Greg Etheredge has informed Overton County News he plans to run for the office of Sheriff in the upcoming election. His statement is as follows:

"I am announcing my candidacy for the Democrat Party's nomination for Sheriff of Overton County in the forthcoming Democrat Primary to be held on the 7th day of May 2002.

"I have dedicated the past seven years to law enforcement, and I feel that my training, service, education, and background fully qualify me for this most important job.

"I was born in Overton County 32 years ago. My parents and grandparents are also native Overton Countians. I graduated from Livingston Academy, University of Tennessee, and Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy.

"My philosophy of law enforcement involves rehabilitation of youthful offenders, community policing, neighborhood watch programs, and firm but fair enforcement. I will, as I have in the past, treat all people with courtesy and fairness.

"I am running against no one, but for the benefit of Overton County and its citizens. I believe my experience and background have trained me well to manage and direct the Sheriff's Office, and a budget that now exceeds $1,000,000.

"Between now and the election, I will make an effort to see as many people as possible; however, I do urge every voter to consider my qualifications and dedication and help me in this election.

"In this issue of the newspaper, I have cited my experience and background in great detail, and I hope you will review this advertisement and weigh my qualifications as compared to any other candidate."



Allen D. Loftis has informed Overton County News he plans to run for the office of Overton County Sheriff. His statement is as follows:

"After careful thought, much consideration and encouragement, and being in consistency more than ever before the good people of Overton County. Either coming by my home at 1560 West Main, and also calling my home number (931) 823-5408 asking me to run for their Overton County Sheriff, so now I have decided to do just that without writing a lot of things that I will do, or not do, in the newspapers.

"I believe the good people of Overton County know that as being their Overton County Sheriff, I will be a working sheriff and I will serve and protect them and have the courage and the devotion to the duty of the Overton County Sheriff's Office, and will do the necessary job that needs to be done in the sheriff's office for the people.

"With my 34 years of law enforcement experience, I believe I can carry this through and get the job done as your chief law enforcement officer, the Sheriff of Overton County.

"I say again that I will keep the peace and will make myself available to you. I will always be a sheriff who you can come and talk to. I will be, and train my deputies also, to be vigilant of suspicious activities, and be ready to take action.

"At this time in our county and country, it is critical for law enforcement officers to be constantly aware of our environment, and the actions of people we observe.

"As your sheriff, I promise you the sheriff's office and also my home, will always by open to you 24 hours a day, and/or night, for your business, or at your convenience to come by for just a friendly visit.

"Myself and also my deputies will be firm, but will treat you with the utmost respect and kindness and will always be fair to all. Your vote, and also your influence, will be greatly appreciable."



Bud Swallows has informed Overton County News he plans to run for office of Overton County Sheriff. His statement is as follows:

"I, Bud Swallows, after much thought and much encouragement from citizens of Overton County, am announcing that I am a candidate for the office of Sheriff of Overton County in the May 7, 2002, Democratic Primary Election.

"I have been a citizen of Overton County all my life. I have been married for 33 years to the former Jannie Robbins. Jannie has been employed with Livingston Regional Hospital for the past 10 years. I also have one son, Matthew.

"I have dedicated my life to serving my country and the citizens of Overton County. I am a proud veteran of the United States Army National Guard and retired as a staff sergeant with 28 years of service. I served in Saudi Arabia from October 1990 to June 1991 in Operation Desert Storm. I'm also a VFW Post 5062 lifetime member.

"I have been in law enforcement for 25 years. I graduated from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy in 1978. I served as police chief in Monterey, where I held that position for six years. I am currently a lieutenant with Livingston Police Department, where I have been employed since 1990.

"My qualifications in law enforcement consist of numerous schools and 25 years experience. I have attended 40 hours per year of training since 1977. I now hold the rank of firearms instructor including being qualified as a police sharpshooter by the National Rifle Association. I am also trained in hazardous materials, domestic violence, DUI, and vehicular homicide, and have also attended Middle Management School, just to name a few.

"Some of my goals, if elected, are to put together an experienced, well-staffed sheriff's department with deputies assigned to patrol and be available for quick response to calls in all parts of the county. I want my deputies to be all uniformed the same and present a professional appearance to the citizens of Overton County. I want to bear down on theft and burglary, and I promise a fair but firm administration of law enforcement to the citizens of Overton County.

"During my campaign, I hope to be able to visit with each of the voters of Overton County. Vote and elect Bud Swallows Sheriff of Overton County. Your vote of confidence will be greatly appreciated."



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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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