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Criminal cases in Johnson County…where they are now in the courts

The following information contains the most recent updates to criminal charges that occurred in Johnson County, as well as crimes involving current or previous residents of Johnson County.
Previously, Tammy Lassiter was charged with three counts of counterfeit sales, as well as charges of child abuse and endangerment. On May 19, 2011, all of these charges against Lassiter were dropped. According to Assistant District Attorney Kent Garland, the department is earnestly investigating information received from witnesses with regard to Lassiter's arrest and charges. Based on information received, Lassiter's charges were dismissed.
David A. Billings of Mountain City was charged with vehicular homicide and reckless aggravated assault after a fatal two-vehicle wreck that occurred in Gray, Tennessee. Tanya K. Martin was driving southbound when her vehicle was struck by Billings. Martin was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Billings was held in the Washington County Detention Center where bond was posted. He recently appeared in General Sessions Court, and his case has been bound over to Criminal Court. Billings is scheduled to appear in court on August 18, 2011.
Michael Allen Craig, also of Mountain City, was charged with the shooting death of Sandra Lee Moffett on April 22, 2010. Moffett was found with a gunshot wound to the head. Allen was charged with first-degree murder and first appeared in court on June 9, 2010. His case has been continued, and he is due in court again on August 12, 2011.
Amanda Cristin Stout was charged with criminal homicide in the murder of Freddie Burns Hays of Harbin Hill Road. Hays’ body was found on October 22, 2009. Stout's initial court appearance was on September 29, 2010. She is scheduled to appear in court again on May 27, 2011.
Jackie Darrell Dillon of Cotton Town, Tennessee, was charged with criminal homicide in the death of Marla Jo Grindstaff Abel. Abel had recently moved from Johnson County to Greenbrier, Tennessee. Officials were called to Abel's home in response to a fire and discovered her body. Dillon appeared in court on October 29, 2010 and was found guilty of a violent felony, second-degree murder. He was sentenced to 28 and one-half years in the Tennessee Department of Corrections.
Brenda J. Buchanan was initially charged with two counts of vehicular homicide and one count of vehicular assault when her car crossed the centerline on September 15, 2009, striking an ambulance. The patient, Alicia McCoy, was killed in the accident. Three days later, the driver of the ambulance, Joseph R. Barlow, died as a result of his injuries. The assault charge was changed to homicide.
Buchanan pled guilty in March of 2011 to two counts of vehicular homicide by recklessness and a reckless endangerment felony. According to an article published on March 31, 2011, in The Johnson City Press, “Brenda Buchanan pleaded guilty Thursday to lesser charges of vehicular homicide when Assistant District Attorney General, Kent Garland, said the state could not prove that Buchanan was intoxicated at the time she crashed into a Johnson County Rescue Squad ambulance in 2009 and killed driver Joe Barlow, 57, and patient Alicia McCoy, 57.” According to the same article, Judge Cupp asked Garland how the state could charge Buchanan on charges of intoxication if that was not the case. In response, Garland explained the State had presented its case to the grand jury before the laboratory testing results from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Crime Laboratory were available. Buchanan tested negative for alcohol, but positive for other drugs in her system.
According to an article published on April 26, 2011, again in the Johnson City Press, “Criminal Court Judge Robert Cupp expressed displeasure with the Tennessee sentencing laws on Tuesday when he was compelled by those laws to order a woman who pleaded guilty to causing the deaths of Joe Barlow, 57, and Alicia McCoy, 57, to serve only one year in prison.”

Buchanan received one year in jail, ten years probation and ten years of suspended driving privilege. The April 26th article also states, “The state's parole system also came into criticism from the judge. He said he could have made it easy on himself and simply sentenced Buchanan to five years. ‘But she would be up for parole quicker than you can bat an eye. That is the way the system works.’ In an attempt to find a way to keep Buchanan in the court system for a longer period of time, Cupp added a caveat to Buchanan's ten-year probation sentencing. Should Buchanan not follow the rules of her probation, she could end up serving a five-year sentence.