School board member indicted for DUI

Friday, June 26, 2009

Among the indictments handed down by Marshall County Grand Jury this week was one for school board member Mark Wilkerson, 43, of Chapel Hill.

Wilkerson is charged with driving under the influence and violation of the implied consent law.

Judge Steve Bowden ruled on June 2 that the Grand Jury should consider the case, and doubled Wilkerson's bond on the two charges to $4,000.

Just over seven months have passed since Marshall County Sheriff's Deputy Tony Nichols witnessed Wilkerson driving "erratically" on Highways 50 and 431, and after performing a traffic stop, found that he "performed poorly" on field sobriety tests.

There have been several preliminary hearings at which Wilkerson's defense attorneys, the father-daughter team of Walter Bussart and Lee Bowles, have argued that Nichols did not have probable cause to stop the car, while Assistant District Attorney Kate Lavery contended that the stop was justified.

The Wilkerson family had another brush with the law in January when drug dogs running in the parking lot at Forrest High School detected marijuana in 18-year-old Jonathan Wilkerson's car. Jonathan pleaded guilty and this case was retired on June 16 after an alcohol and drug assessment was completed. He was ordered to pay court costs and make a $250 contribution to the juvenile delinquency fund. Lee Bowles was his attorney.

Other Grand Jury indictments include:

* Darrell Glenn Cates, 30, and Jason Willard Oliver, 27, both of Culleoka; Corey Lee Terry, 19, Old Columbia Road; and Patrick Cody Terry, 21, Columbia. All four are accused of a theft (over $1,000 but less than $10,000), which took place at the end of December 2008.

* Joseph Layne Fulton, 32, Shelbyville. Aggravated assault. Fulton is alleged to have attacked William H. Yowell III with a knife and a crescent wrench at the Finish Line Sports Bar on Feb. 27, 2009.

* Derek J. Jones, 24, Lynnville. Third offence of driving under the influence, violation of the implied consent law, driving on revoked, possession of a Schedule VI drug (marijuana), and possession of drug paraphernalia. Jones' attorney, John S. Colley III, has filed a motion to suppress, alleging that the traffic stop on March 15, 2009 (for failure to yield), was not a valid one.

* Brittany Leah West, 21, 5th Avenue North. Forgery. The affidavit of complaint states that on April 14, 2009, "offender did admit to altering the prescription for hydrocodone 5 mg. pills that she submitted to the Kroger Pharmacy. Original prescription was for the quantity of four. Offender added a one after the four to show an altered quantity of 41."

Indictment does not mean a person is guilty. This is determined by a trial, or by the defendant's plea of guilty.