Woman gets probation; another has it revoked

Friday, May 24, 2013

By Karen Hall


A young woman who was caught on I-65 transporting nearly 50 pounds of marijuana will serve four and a half years of probation, but no jail time.

Twila Dixon, 27, of Madison, Tenn. made an open plea to the charges related to the drugs found in her possession, and also to speeding.

She will have to pay a $5,000 fine, particpate in an alcohol and drug assessment, and abide by its findings.

How did local attorney David McKenzie, persuade the judge to grant probation in this case?

"It's rare," McKenzie admitted. "She deserved it. She expressed a lot of remorse. This was her one and only run-in with the law, and she intends to keep it that way."

In a two and a half hour hearing Wednesday, McKenzie proved Dixon had no prior criminal history, demonstrated she was a hard worker, had good support from her family, and was getting education.

"She showed remorse," McKenzie said. "She accepted responsibility."

Dixon admitted she was a "drug mule," and had made two uneventful runs up I-65 with a quantity of marijuana, before being caught in July 2012.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Wayne Dunkeman pulled Dixon over after clocking her at 76 mph in a 70 mph zone and subsequently found the marijuana in the car.

Dixon was glad to leave court after her sentencing hearing was over, McKenzie said, so she was not there to observe the fate of another woman who was sentenced only to probation.

Brandi Clutts, 28, of Flintville, was sentenced to four years probation after pleading guilty in August 2010 to her part in a series of auto burglaries that took place in December 2009.

Clutts and the two men with her -- her brother, and her then-boyfriend -- also committed similar burglaries in Moore County, and she was on probation from there as well.

"She violated her probation by being charged with driving under the influence," said Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard.

Lt. Andy Rodriguez of the Fayetteville Police Department testified he found Clutts in her car, with "multiple" children, parked in the handicap space at Walmart with the engine running. Subsequent testing showed her blood-alcohol level was 0.14.

"We're being asked to be as lenient as possible and give her a break for the sake of the children and her grandfather," said Barnard. "This is probation; this is the break. You have to demonstrate you can obey the law."

Clutts' attorney Bill Harold suggested she be sentenced to 90 days, and then released.

"Give her an opportunity to show she's learned her lesson," he pleaded.

"It's sad when people hurt their family members by committing crimes," said Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler, noting the large number of felonies Clutts had committed. He ordered her to serve the balance of her sentence behind bars, and Clutts said a tearful goodbye to her son, the only one of her three children old enough to come to court.