Requested polygraph prompts suspect's confession

Friday, September 4, 2009

A suspect and his mother requested a lie detector test for the 27-year-old son who's charged with raping two elementary school-age girls, and results led to a confession, according to police testimony this week in Marshall County General Sessions Court.

Lewisburg Police Detective Scott Braden testified on Tuesday that Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Agent Mike Smith administered the polygraph test on Aug. 18 at the Lewisburg Police Department on a request from Dallas Jay Stewart, 27, of Sumerset Circle, and his mother.

Braden described how, after getting statements from two girls, age 10 and 11, he interviewed Stewart at his home on Aug. 17. Braden said he and Detective James "Pugs" Johnson were at the house for 3-4 hours that Monday. They were joined there by Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard and Officer John Christmas.

Stewart sat trembling and grimacing at the defense table during Braden's testimony.

The court also heard that Stewart is a subject of interest for an open investigation with similar allegations in Williamson County. In a telephone interview, Franklin Police Sgt. Charles Warner said he is familiar with Stewart's name, but that no charges had been filed and Stewart was not wanted by Franklin police at that time.

After the lie detector test was administered, the TBI agent confronted Stewart with the results of the polygraph, Stewart admitted "he had done something that was wrong," according to Braden's testimony, including information that Stewart gave a detailed statement, admitting sexual activities with the girls on two specific dates in July.

The prosecution has a signed written statement and an audio recording of what Stewart said, according to statements in court. Whenever police spoke with Stewart, he was advised of his Miranda rights against making statements contrary to his best interests.

Stewart has been in the Marshall County Jail since his arrest on Aug. 18. His bond was set at $500,000, but it was reduced by Sessions Court Judge Steve Bowden on Tuesday to $100,000.

Bowden presided over a preliminary hearing for Stewart. It's a time when the state's case is to be revealed enough to persuade the judge that there is probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and the defendant is the likely culprit.

Bowden concluded that there was probable cause and forwarded Stewart's case to the Marshall County Grand Jury.

Stewart's attorney is John S. Colley III of Columbia.