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80 Years Ago

Archives 12-28-2010


Further details released in Bowers strangling case
White Christmas not just a dream in county
Identity of woman in robbery, kidnapping case revealed
Christmas Eve wreck injures three on Hwy. 111
Sobriety checkpoints to be held

Further details released in Bowers strangling case
By Lyndon Johnson,
OCN staff

Benjamin Junior Bowers, accused of strangling to death his grandmother with whom he had lived, will not face Judge John Officer when he next appears in Overton County Criminal Court.

According to information obtained from the office of Overton County Circuit Court Clerk Barbara Matthews, Judge Officer has recused himself from the case due to a “conflict of interest” because he had at some point in the past represented the victim, Hassie Pearl Breeding, 72, of Moore Road in the Dodson’s Chapel community near Rickman.

Further information made available to Overton County News by the clerk’s office said that TBI Special Agent Steve Huntley filed an affidavit of complaint alleging that after being read his Miranda rights, Bowers informed him that “he and the unnamed juvenile planned and rehearsed the robbery and murder of Ms. Breeding.”

The affidavit further alleged, “Bowers stated that he and the unnamed juvenile waited inside the victim’s home, and when the victim came home, Bowers began to strangle her with a dog leash. Bowers stated that the juvenile then came to assist him by placing a pillow over the head of the victim during the struggle.

“Bowers stated that they then retrieved an amount of money from the victim’s body and left the residence,” the affidavit further claims. “Bowers stated that they took the victim’s car and went to Indiana.”

Police in Gas City, IN arrested Bowers and the juvenile, a 16 year-old female, on charges that they stole Breeding’s car, a 2006 Scion. Huntley, working in conjunction with Overton County Sheriff’s Department, later filed the affidavit of complaint alleging Bowers commited first degree premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit first degree murder, felony murder in perpetration of robbery, and robbery.

According to the clerk’s office, a new court date and a new judge have yet to be determined for Bowers’ case, which was initially slated to come up on the docket on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011.

Bowers is currently being held without bail in Overton County Justice Center, while the juvenile accused of being his accomplice was being held at Putnam County Juvenile Detention Center at last report.

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White Christmas not just a dream in county

Carson Oliver photo
Snowfall blankets the Courthouse Square in Livingston on Christmas, Saturday, Dec. 25, including the Christmas tree decorated by Leadership Overton Youth Academy. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administratoin (NOAA) reported a maximum observed snow depth of about four inches at its Livingston station over the weekend, while backyard measurements of anywhere between three and six inches were common across the county.

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Identity of woman in robbery, kidnapping case revealed
By Lyndon Johnson,
OCN staff

Overton County News has learned the identity of the woman who police allege was beaten by Gentry Lee Linder, 28, of Overton County.

According to affidavits of complaint filed by Livingston Police Department Detective Jacob Boswell and obtained from the office of Overton County Circuit Court Clerk Barbara Matthews, Misty Linder, Gentry Linder’s estranged wife who was no longer living with him, came to police showing signs that she had been severely beaten.

According to one of the affidavits, on Friday, Nov. 26, “Misty Linder was forcibly taken by Kareissa Sevier and Gentry Linder” from her place of employment, Perdue Farms in Monterey.

“Misty Linder was severely beaten about her face and body by Gentry Linder while Kareissa Sevier drove their vehicle to Livingston,” the affidavit alleges. “Misty Linder was punched about her face and body numerous times.”

The affidavit goes on to allege that Misty Linder tried to escape the vehicle when she was being forced into it, “but was unable to get out of the vehicle due to being physically assaulted and restrained in the vehicle.”

The affidavit claims Misty Linder was later driven to Bank of Overton County in Livingston and forced to withdraw money from her account. She was then transported to Conatser Hollow near the Alpine community, where the affidavit alleges Sevier and Gentry Linder pulled her from the vehicle and forced her into a wooded area.

“Once inside the woods, Gentry Linder did tie Misty Linder to a tree with rope and choked her and put a knife to her throat,” the affidavit alleges. “At this time, a vehicle pulled into the cemetery nearby, and Gentry Linder untied Misty Linder and forced her to walk through the woods to a nearby trail. At this location, Gentry Linder text [sic] Kareissa Sevier to come and pick them back up, and Kareissa Sevier did pick them back up near the cemetery, out of sight of the nearby vehicle.”

The affidavit then alleges Misty Linder was taken to Sevier’s residence, located at 1031 James White Road in Clay County, where she was taken inside the house and put into a bedroom. The affidavit claims she was kept there until morning, when she was able to get out of the bedroom.

“Misty Linder on several different occasions did ask Gentry Linder and Keriessa [sic] Sevier to let her go and not kill her,” the affidavit says.

Both Gentry Linder and Sevier are charged with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery and are set to next appear in court in Overton County on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011.

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Christmas Eve wreck injures three on Hwy. 111

Darren Oliver photo
Emergency responders work to free an occupant pinned in a car after a two-vehicle collision on Highway 111 just south of the Livingston city limits left three injured on Christmas Eve.

According to the crash report from Tennessee Highway Patrol, a red 2004 Nissan Maxima sedan driven by Brian A. Rhea, 47, of Hilham, was traveling north on Highway 111 when a gray 2008 Nissan Altima sedan driven by Michael E. Lambert, 55, of Rickman attempted to cross the highway from East McCormick Road. Rhea’s car struck the Altima in the driver’s side when Lambert failed to yield to oncoming traffic while crossing the highway, the report said.

A passenger in the Altima, Joyce K. Lambert, 54, of Rickman, was also injured in the crash. Both Lamberts were transported to Livingston Regional Hospital, as was Rhea, who was later transported to Vanderbilt for further evaluation and treatment before being released from hospital care Christmas day.

Rhea’s grandson, Brandon Rhea, 6, of Linden, NC, was also in the Maxima, but was uninjured. According to the THP report, the juvenile was secured in a child restraint.

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Sobriety checkpoints to be held

Tennessee Highway Patrol will be conducting sobriety and driver license roadside checkpoints in Overton County the week of December 31.

Recognizing the danger presented to the public by intoxicated drivers and unqualified drivers, troopers will concentrate their efforts on vehicles being operated by intoxicated drivers who would violate the driving under the influence laws of Tennessee, and also by unqualified drivers who would violate the driver license laws of Tennessee.

Tennessee Highway Patrol has found these road blocks to be an effective means of enforcing the driving under the influence laws and driver license laws of Tennessee while ensuring the protection of all motorists.

Also, Livingston Police Department will conduct sobriety checkpoints from 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31 to 3 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 1 and Overton County Sheriff’s Department will hold a series of checkpoints throughout the county Friday, Dec. 31.

According to Sheriff W.B. Melton, the checkpoints are an effort to stop drunk driving and promote safety.

Sheriff W.B. Melton urges those who choose to drink to always get a designated driver and for everyone to buckle up.

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Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston' Tennessee 38570
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fax 931.823.6486

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