Neck wound nearly killed 1st Ave. man

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Lewisburg man was released from the hospital over the weekend following surgery to close wounds suffered during a robbery Thursday night when his throat was cut, city police report.

Cleveland Holder, 52, of 432 1st Avenue North, was "doing well," on Monday when police spoke with him, Detective Sgt. David Henley said, noting Holder's life was saved by his neighbor.

Bleeding from his neck, Holder went next door to Linda Wallace's front porch where he banged on her door and collapsed, Henley and Officer Russell Grubbs said. Wallace saved Holder's life by calling 911 and holding a towel over his wounds.

Charged with attempted murder is Jerry L. Hunter, 50, of 416 1st Avenue North, who was booked at the Marshall County Jail on Thursday night in connection with wounds suffered by Holder, police said Friday.

Hunter was in Marshall County General Sessions Court on Wednesday morning for what's routinely called a "first appearance" before Judge Steve Bowden.

Henley and the city's other detectives "took a lot of blood and fiber evidence" through Thursday night and Friday morning. The sergeant said people in the area of First Avenue North were helpful.

"We had a couple of witnesses in the area who led us to believe that (Hunter) was a suspect," Henley said, "so we got a search warrant from Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler and went to Hunter's home where we found enough evidence to charge him."

Crigler signed the warrant after a jury trial ended at about 11 p.m. Thursday.

Holder and Hunter "knew each other," Henley said. That's what led to a theory on the crime that murder was intended because a dead robbery victim couldn't identify his assailant.

Police still want more information. Henley is asking the public for help. People with information about the stabbing are asked to call police at 931-359-3800. Calls may also be made to CrimeStoppers at 359-4867.

Grubbs was the first officer on the scene, responding to Wallace's call for help at about 7:15 p.m. to 434 1st Avenue North.

Wallace didn't know Holder since she'd been living in the mobile home for about a week, but she thought he lived in the mobile home behind her house. The two residences are on the south side of the fenced in storage area rented by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Police went to the victim's trailer, found blood on the porch, floor, a chair, and in the kitchen. Grubbs and Officer Chris Sawyers secured the scene, called the criminal investigation division, and the Marshall County Emergency Medical Service rushed the victim to Lewisburg's Ellington Airport so an Air Evac helicopter ambulance could fly him to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

A $150,000 bond was set by a judicial commissioner on Thursday night for Hunter.

Holder's wallet was recovered from the roof of a business next to Hunter's home, Henley said.

"We're still trying to ascertain the exact amount" of money allegedly stolen from Holder, the sergeant said Monday afternoon.

Hunter and Holder "did get into an argument," Henley said.

Asked if Holder owed Hunter money, Henley replied, "That is something we're looking at, but if he did, it wasn't more than about $20."

Police were still trying to determine how much money was allegedly taken from Holder, he said.