Probation requests granted

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Requests for probation for three defendants who pleaded guilty were granted last week by Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler.

Tawyna Gail Eady, 42, Creek Drive, Lewisburg, is to serve six years' probation for arson, and one year for burning personal property, to run concurrent. Eady was also ordered to pay court costs.

Crystal Gayle King, 22, Athens, Ala. pled guilty to promotion of methamphetamine manufacture "pursuant to 40-35-313" which means that if she successfully completes her three years' probation she can apply have her criminal record expunged. King was also ordered to pay $1,208 in court costs at $50 per week.

Joseph Layne Fulton, 32, Shelbyville, was sentenced to 11 months 29 days of probation for an assault on William Yowell III on Feb. 27. Fulton's probation is to be supervised until he finishes paying restitution to the victim plus court costs, a total of $3,659.79.

* Eady set fire to her home and 2006 Cadillac on June 2. Eady admitted the arson to Marshall County Sheriff's Detective Bob Johnson, but said. "I was so mad at God for taking my own true love. I have not been the same since Matt died." Her husband, Matt Eady, 42, died of a heart attack on Feb. 26. The couple had been high school sweethearts, and the day of his funeral, March 1, would have been their 23rd wedding anniversary. The couple ran Eady's Dinner Bell Restaurant in Lewisburg from 2000 to 2005.

"I did not mean to do this. I am so sorry. If I could change things I would," Eady told Johnson.

In a motion to consider mitigating factors, Eady's attorney, Bill Haywood, wrote, "The defendant was suffering from a mental condition that significantly reduced the defendant's culpability for the offense," and also, "The defendant, although guilty of the crime, committed the offense under such unusual circumstances that it is unlikely that a sustained intent to violate the law motivated the criminal conduct."

In her pre-sentence report, Lorranda Borja notes that Eady continues to seek psychological counseling, has full time employment, owns her own home, and has a 14-year-old daughter who depends on her. Eady is a co-owner, with her brother Donald "Bubba" Hodge Jr., of Red's Bar & Grill in Chapel Hill; she is also a licensed massage therapist on leave of absence from Fox & Company of Columbia. The insurance company has been reimbursed for the money it paid out for the car when the fire was assumed to have been accidental.

* King was one of several people arrested on July 11, 2007, when law officers searched a room at the Econolodge Motel, Cornersville, after receiving a tip that meth was being manufactured there.

"Found inside the room were several items consistent with the manufacture of methamphetamine," wrote agent Bill Ostermann of the 17th Judicial District Drug Task Force in his Affidavit of Complaint, and photographs of the equipment found in the motel room are in the case file.

Also indicted after being arrested at the Econolodge were Whitney Caine Mitchell, Anthony Ray Mullins, Jonathan David Mills, and Tonya Elizabeth Killmeyer.

King pleaded guilty on March 18, but the sentencing hearing was postponed until disposition of her co-defendants' cases. King assisted in prosecution of her co-defendants by agreeing to cooperate and testify as needed. Mitchell, Mullins, and Killmeyer have pleaded guilty, and Mills had his case settled in General Sessions Court with probation and fines.

"I was stupid and let myself get into this situation by letting Whitney control me," said King, quoted by Jim Grimes in the pre-sentence report. "I am sorry for what has happened and for letting people run over me and take advantage. I am now trying to avoid contact with anyone associated with Whitney, or any of the others. I am trying to get my life back," she continued.

King was represented by Pulaski attorney Robert Massey.

Fulton was indicted for aggravated assault after attacking Yowell at the Finish Line Sports Bar on Feb. 27. Yowell was taken to Marshall Medical Center with knife cuts on both arms. He had also been hit on the head with a crescent wrench. His wounds required 23 stitches.

A transcript of the preliminary hearing in Lewisburg City Court included in the case file recounts circumstances that led up to the fight. Yowell, who lives in Bay St. Louis, Miss., had come to Lewisburg to visit his sister and listen to her dad play in the band at the Finish Line. Fulton - variously described as the sister's boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, and fiancÚ - sent her some disturbing text messages, and then arrived at the bar and started the fight with Yowell. Fulton was represented by Shelbyville attorney John Norton.