Two indicted for assault

Friday, July 22, 2011

The two women who allegedly attacked a teenager in Wal-Mart last month were indicted by the grand jury Wednesday.

Tabitha Brown, 33, and Symetra Brown, 35, both of Woodlawn Avenue, Lewisburg, were indicted on one count each of aggravated assault.

The sisters are due back in Circuit Court with their appointed attorneys for arraignment on Aug. 3.

Also due back that day is James William Johnson, 38, of Nashville Highway, who was indicted in May but not arrested until this week. Johnson is charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor.

A good deal of Judge Robert Crigler's time Wednesday was taken up by a hearing for Tracy Lynn Bell, 34, who has just reached the end of a 90-day sentence for driving under the influence.

Bell was given two weeks to put her affairs in order between the sentencing hearing and reporting to serve her time. Testimony in court revealed that she violated the terms of her probation during those two weeks. Bell missed an appointment with her probation officer, arrived late to court the day she was to turn herself in, and tested positive for "cocaine metabolites" that day, due to a surprise party her friends gave her the night before.

Assistant District Attorney Chris Collins, who prosecuted Bell's case, demanded a full revocation of her probation, while her attorney, David McKenzie, argued that she had suffered enough. He pointed out that Bell was not a career criminal, but a person who could be a productive member of society.

"She has been open and honest to her detriment," McKenzie said. "Sometimes I wish she'd keep her mouth shut!"

On the witness stand, Bell spoke movingly of the way her three sons, ages 7, 9 and 11, miss her and were looking forward to her coming home.

"They're incredibly confused,' she said. "They need their mom."

Bell testified that she lost her job after her conviction, but had two other jobs lined up for when she gets out.

"My perspective has completely changed," she said in response to McKenzie's questioning. "It's been devastating. I'm going to have to stop drinking - get some outside help."

"Ms. Bell has no respect for Your Honor's leniency," argued Collins. "There are clear indications she has not only a drinking problem but also a drug problem."

"I'm going to beg for mercy in this case," countered McKenzie. "Give her some form of treatment or rehab - she's trying to emerge a better person."

"The more lenient you are, the sooner she'll be back in court," Collins predicted.

"It's not my job to be vindictive," Crigler said at the end of the hearing. "But I do find she's guilty of probation violation for using cocaine."

He sentenced Bell to serve an additional 60 days, and, further, ordered her to pay her fine and costs within 120 days of being released.

"The fine and costs are part of the punishment," said the judge.