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Trial Continues For Man Accused of Aggravated Rape and More

Billy Joe Nelson

Billy Joe Nelson

A Tullahoma woman recalled the horrifying incidents that she said occurred to her on New Year’s Day 2013 when she was abducted and allegedly raped during testimony in Coffee County Circuit Court Monday.
The woman was the first witness to take the stand in the trial of Billy Joe Nelson, 33, of Tullahoma who is accused of aggravated rape, carjacking, robbery and aggravated kidnapping of the woman.
The victim took the stand in Coffee County Circuit Court this week in Manchester and testified about the incident.
Under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Jason Ponder, he asked the victim if she saw the man who abducted her in the courtroom and she pointed to Nelson and said she had no doubt that he was her attacker.
Nelson’s attorney Jeremy Parham stated that the crime lab tested the car and found no fingerprints of Nelson in the car nor did they find any of his hair in the car.
Parham stated that the victim’s life changed that night and so did Nelson’s life.
The defense will present their side of the case on Wednesday.

Weekly Gas Price Report

gas prices 4The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline remained relatively stable last week. However, prices in the southeast fell as much as a nickel. In the past week, the average price for gas dropped 4 cents in Tennessee.
“Gasoline production is especially high this time of year, and is outpacing demand, which is driving gas prices lower,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Meanwhile, domestic oil production remains at an all-time high, which also helps keep a lid on the price of oil and gasoline.
The price for a barrel of WTI oil is more than $60 cheaper than the peak price of $107.26 last year. Oil prices settled as low as $43.46 last week, before finishing the week at $45.72 Friday – an increase of 88 cents compared to week before.
Tennessee’s average price per gallon $2.15 – 4 cents cheaper than last week, 3 cents more than last month and $1.14 less than this time last year.
The low price in Manchester as of Tuesday night was $2.04 and in Tullahoma the low price per gallon was $1.98.

Former Bedford County Corrections Officer Wins Wrongful Firing Lawsuit

lawsuitA Bedford County jury has awarded a former corrections officer $385,000 in damages following a civil trial over her firing in 2012.
The jury found that Virginia Lynn Hall was terminated from her position at Bedford County Jail in violation of the Tennessee Human Rights Act, awarding damages following a four-day civil trial last week.
Hall had sued for gender discrimination — claiming she was fired for the escape of a male prisoner in 2012, while a relative of then-sheriff Randall Boyce kept his job.
She had also demanded unspecified damages for loss of earnings, front pay compensation or reinstatement, compensatory damages for mental distress, emotional anguish, humiliation, and embarrassment, attorney fees, and prejudgment interest.
(Courtesy of the Shelbyville Times Gazette)

Register of Deeds Launches New Public Web Site

Donna Toney

Donna Toney

The launch of a fresh new website for the Coffee County Register’s Office went live on March 23, 2015., it is a multipage Web site that brings two special services with it:
It has a PRICING CALCULATOR; this feature allows someone who needs to know the costs of recording fees and provides an accurate method of pricing the documents straight from the Register’s software! Documents and instruments come to the Register’s office from our county and across the U.S.
There is FRAUD ALERT; this new on line service helps to monitor and protect the citizens and businesses of Coffee County against fraud.
The subscription to the fraud alert is offered free of charge. This is another step towards providing the newest and best resources available to the people of Coffee County.
Protecting consumers’ information is our top priority and requires more attention and vigilance than ever before. Fraud and Identity Theft are commonplace problems in today’s fast pace world.
While Fraud Alert will not prevent fraud from happening, it will provide an early warning system that will allow citizens to take appropriate actions should they deem possible fraudulent activity.
Users need only to go to the website and click onto Fraud Alert under the navigation column, after accepting the disclaimer, they will enter their names and contact information. Subscribers can choose to be contacted by phone or email. No personal information is required and there is no fee to enroll.
Register of Deeds Donna Toney said, “I am very excited about the launching of the new Coffee County Register of Deeds Office website that will give everyone access to information about this office. And to bring to our site two valuable features, the Pricing Calculator and Fraud Alert. My staff and I started working on this project the first three months in office and we are so proud to now have it available to the citizens of Coffee County.
The cost of this project was paid for by data processing fees that are collected on documents being filed or recorded and are earmarked for computerization of the office of the Register” stated Toney.
“The new website is advancing the Register of Deeds Office in the direction of e-filing along with credit card payments, this is all a part of our short-term plan for this year, along with getting all our documents and plats scanned. Our long-range goal is to complete scanning and indexing back to 1980 and to be in position to take the office paperless!  We are working everyday toward that goal,” Toney said.
The new website can also be reached through the Coffee County government website under the Register of Deeds tab.
Toney added “we invite anyone to come by the office or call and we can assist them with using the new website.”

TBI Report Shows Little Crime At Motlow

TBIThe Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has released its 2014 Crime on Campus report that shows Motlow College has one of the lowest records of criminal offenses for that year.
Of all the possible offenses listed Motlow College had two larceny-thefts and one burglary reported.
In 2014, Motlow had a total campus population of 4,199 which included 3,794 undergraduates, 131 staff members, 270 faculty members and four security personnel.
The annual study compiles information submitted to TBI by the states colleges and universities through the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS).
Among the reports findings:

    • Overall, crime reported by Tennessee colleges and universities decreased by 6.3% from 2013 to 2014.
    • Reported incidents of burglary decreased by slightly over 34 from 2013 to 2014,
    • Reported fraud offenses increased 19 percent over 2013’s study.
    • The reported incidents of rape increased from 26 in 2013 to 46 in 2014.
    • DUI offenses reported by Tennessees colleges and universities decreased by 34.9 percent between 2013 and 2014.

TBI officials discourage the comparison of one institutions statistics to another. The factors impacting crime vary from community to community and comparisons will most likely result in inaccurate and generalized conclusions of the relative safety of one campus over another.
The full 2014 Crime on Campus report, along with similar studies dating back to 2001, is available online for review at

Abortion On The Agenda This Week At State Capital

Tennessee State Capital

Tennessee State Capital

A proposal that would require ultrasounds before any abortion is one of several abortion bills set for debate this week at the Tennessee General Assembly. The ultrasound bill is headed to a House committee. Sen. Mae Beavers also plans to push forward with an amendment that would enact mandatory counseling-called informed consent-and a 48-hour waiting period between the time a woman seeks an abortion and when she can go through with the procedure. The measures come in the wake of Tennessee voters adopting a constitutional amendment in November that nullified a 15- year-old state Supreme Court ruling and opened up possible abortion restrictions.

Adults Experience Cyber Bullying On Social Media

Experts recommend using caution when it comes to what information you share online, in an effort to avoid cyberbullies. Photo credit:

Experts recommend using caution when it comes to what information you share online, in an effort to avoid cyberbullies. Photo credit:

Cyber bullying can happen to anyone of any age, according to author Blair London, who heard some of her adult friends share stories of their experiences on social media.
After researching, she realized they were not alone.
She maintains the distance provided by online communication can sometimes make people crueler than in real life.
“So, you get the friend of a friend of a friend, who doesn’t really care who this original person is, and so they don’t care if any harm comes to them,” she points out.
London recently published “Lure to Death,” a novel that centers on the issue of adult cyber bullying.
According to, cyber bullying can play out with harassment, impersonation, or sharing someone’s secrets online. It’s also called trolling.
Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky recently spoke publicly at a
TED talk in Vancouver on her experience with bullies who sent cruel messages to her via social media.
In her speech, Lewinsky offered others encouragement as they struggle with cruelty online.
“Anyone who is suffering from shame and public humiliation needs to know one thing,” Lewinsky stressed. “You can survive it. I know it’s hard. It may not be painless, quick or easy, but you can insist on a different ending to your story.”
London says while adult cyber bullying may be a growing problem, online cruelty between young people is nothing new. She says it often starts as tweens friend people for the sake of quantity and not quality.
“Young people, I think that they collect friends,” she explains. “They go on the Internet at that young of an age and put things out there and they think nothing of it. They think they’ve got a friend out there.”
Tennessee has a law that requires every school district to have a policy prohibiting bullying and harassment. Schools must also have procedures for investigating violations of the policy.
Tennessee Department of Education recommends you document bullying and report problems to school administrators.


Fundraiser For Coffee County Children’s Advocacy Center

Childrens AdvocacyCoffee County Children’s Advocacy Center is hosting its annual fundraiser “A Groovy Party with a Purpose.” This event will take place on Friday, April 10 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Manchester/ Coffee County Conference Center. At 6 p.m., the event kicks off with a silent auction followed by dinner and a live auction at 7:00 p.m. When the live auction concludes, the band “Escape” will take the stage for a night of dancing. Tickets are $50/person and can be reserved by calling the Coffee County Children’s Advocacy Center (931) 723-8888.

Manchester Man Facing Several Sex Charges

sexual exploitationGerald Albert Rogers, 64, of Tanglewood Drive, Manchester was arrested last week on sex related charges.
The allegations against Rogers are sexual exploitation of a minor and unlawful photographing.
After receiving a warrant, Manchester Police officers entered Rogers’ residence and confiscated three computers, a thumb drive and several hard drives, several hundred CDs that contained video from a hidden camera showing two females under the age of 18 undressing in his bedroom.
Officers also allege that they found a file that contained proof of a hidden camera in bathrooms of a motel room showing adult females taking bathes.
He is scheduled to appear in Coffee County General Sessions Court March 24.
At last reports he was being held in the Coffee County Jail on a $150,000 bond.

Trial For 2013 Crimes Begins Monday

Billy Joe Nelson

Billy Joe Nelson

On New Year’s Day 2013 a Tullahoma woman was allegedly kidnapped, assaulted, raped and robbed.
Tullahoma resident Billy Joe Nelson, 31, of 1209 East Lauderdale Street, was charged with carjacking, aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault and robbery. His trial begins Monday.
He has been held since his arrest under a bond of $1.25 million.
During a preliminary hearing held in February 2013 the victim testified that she had gotten into her vehicle and went to sleep while her husband finished getting his equipment from where his band had played in Manchester. During the preliminary hearing she testified that when she woke up “there was a stranger driving her vehicle.”
She testified that he then drove the vehicle on Highway 55 toward Tullahoma. The man allegedly sexually assaulted her.
She testified that she attempted to get out but he grabbed her by the hair and pulled her back inside the vehicle and bit her on the face.
He then drove to Dossett Apartments in Tullahoma where he took her rings and threatened her to stay in the vehicle. She testified that he told her that he had a gun but never showed it to her. He then got out of the vehicle and went into the apartments. Police later recovered her belongings from a trash can near the apartments.
He went into the apartments and while he was in there she was able to drive away and call 911. She met a Tullahoma officer and was transported to Harton Regional Medical Center for treatment.
A woman described as Nelson’s girlfriend told officers that she dropped him off near where the abduction occurred in Manchester. She also told Manchester Police investigators that Nelson called her around 3 a.m. to come to Dossett Apartments.
Assistant District Attorney Jason Ponder will prosecute the case and Nelson will be defended by Manchester attorney Jeremy Parham.
(Thanks to Wayne Thomas of the Tullahoma News for his help with this story)

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