"Keep Sheriff Tommy J. Jones"

"Keep Sheriff Tommy J. Jones"

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Travis Jones Resigns! ...Leaves Law-Enforcement for Secure State Job

Was Jones knowingly violating the law?...what started as a relaxed and unassuming interview, will have far-reaching implications on his career

It's been close to a year that Travis Jones (perhaps unwittingly), admitted to MSNBC's Keith Morrison what has been 'standard practice' at the Monroe County Sheriff's Office... A total disregard for the legal steps required to present evidence in court--his admission could open the floodgates for possible re-trials in cases where a defendant's civil rights, (especially those not having a good attorney at the time), may claim their civil rights were violated. The failure of the sheriff's dept. to properly train officers, and the lack of oversight when misconduct occurred, made national headlines in the Dawson case.

Can the state of Tennessee "teach an old dog new tricks?" Even if it was possible, the "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" doctrine may hang like a storm cloud, and raise reasonable doubt in any future investigations or court testimony involving former MCSD Captain Travis Jones.

Call it an October surprise or however you wish to characterize it; but, it was a 'head-turner' to learn that Jones was 'abandoning ship' as head of MCSD detectives to work as a 'fire investigator' with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance--what led to his departure and more importantly, what does he know about fire investigation?

A good fire investigator should have a 'scientific or chemical' background--Dr. Gerald Hurst earned his PhD in chemistry from Cambridge, he said that "fire investigation in general is the 'swamp of forensic science'-in fact, many forensic scientists refuse to recognize arson investigation as a 'sub-field' of forensic science." Many innocent people are sitting in prison, because of inaccurate conclusions drawn from faulty science.

Senior members of local police departments are often times recruited and move up to the TBI, FBI, and other law enforcement agencies--not in this case--why? we can only guess at all the possibilities...

Prior to 2014, MCSD had a history of bungling death investigations, or conducting no death investigations whatsoever in cases where the evidence of possible criminal conduct was crystal clear.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sheriff Watson Arrested on 12 Felony Charges

Judge Don Ash is picked to preside: the same judge that presided over the Bill Bivens vs Randy White lawsuit in Monroe County

**Steve Lawson unseats incumbent Eric Watson on May 1st, 2018--with no democrat in the race, Lawson will take office September 1st, 2018**
For 8 1/2 months Eric blamed others (The TBI, Chattanooga Times Free Press, county commissioners, grand juries), now he can get on with his true calling in life as "used car salesman."

Prosecutor Jimmy Dunn dropped all felony charges against Watson on 1/11/2018, before the case was even heard in court--even though after 6 months of appeals, Judge Don Ash had ruled on 12/21/2017 the case to go to trial (the indictment originally had 6 felony offenses and later had 12 in total)...Dunn admitted that Watson had violated the law, but claimed he had paid the taxes on the vehicle titles mentioned in the indictment--however, that was not part of the case--the indictment charged "fraud and forgery." 

In a press conference the day after prosecutor Dunn dropped all 12 felony charges, Watson blamed others (and rumors?) for the 2 year investigation, and didn't offer to answer questions from reporters--this incident and how he handled it, will forever haunt his career --- he will now go before the 'court of public opinion.'

12/21/2017 Judge Don Ash refused to dismiss charges, case to go to trial--Watson's attorney had filed a motion to dismiss (motion DENIED), the approach was that since the titles in the vehicles that Watson had admitted to 'forging' were not Tennessee titles, the law didn't apply.

The arrest of a county sheriff is a rare event--it's been almost 10 years since former Hamilton County Sheriff Billy Long was arrested by the FBI and convicted on money laundering, extortion, and other charges. Long was released from federal prison in 2016, but will serve a monitored 'house arrest' for another 5 years.

After a year long investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, a grand jury indicted Watson on 6 felony counts--after getting his prints and mugshot taken, he posted a 30k dollar bond and was released from custody back in July 2017.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sheriff Tommy Jones' Inner Circle, Don Charest

A Senior member of the MCSD Reserve Officer Program has "packed up, and moved out of town"  

It couldn't have come at a worse time for Sheriff Tommy Jones. A person who could have shed light on the inner workings of what a reserve officer actually does, has within two months, sold his property and moved out of Monroe County.

* Update 2018: Don Charest is no longer affiliated with the MCSD...the sheriff's dept is staffed with honorable men and women: moving forward in a new direction...

An inside source revealed that Don Charest sold his Coker Creek homestead within a week of being on the market. A county land transfer record shows that it was priced low enough for a "quick sale."...

Charest had formerly been in the Tellico Plains Police Reserve under a cloud of controversy, along with former chief Bill Isbell. Former Tellico Plains Mayor Roger Powers felt that both Isbell and Charest lacked transparency and honesty, and he "booted them out." An investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury revealed missing or un-accounted money from fundraisers and missing guns...

Charest has returned from time to time to manage or liquidate his assets at the Madisonville SDS gun store, which he co-owns with Ray Kough. During his visits back to Monroe County, he has stayed in an 'out-of-the-way' cabin in Coker Creek, driving a vehicle not formerly associated with him...

The SDS gun store operators were "giddy with excitement" after Jones was appointed interim Sheriff on 12/9/2014. They even made a webpage for him on their website claiming "they finally had someone they could work with."

Friday, March 24, 2017

Hidden Forest Service Campground: A Crime Haven with a View

Bromen's SUV used in getaway

The fallout from the "Missing Minnesota girl" unfolds 

it's now known that Jon Bromen, the "wanted criminal" who kept Claire Cooney and her mother for 10 days in an "out of the way" forest service campground in Monroe County, was caught because of a "dead battery" which forced him to leave his campsite and walk down Hwy 68 seeking help.

Why did the trio go un-noticed for a week and a half by Forest Service Law Enforcement? The District USFS ranger would have noticed "something wasn't right" if he had taken the time to drive in one of the secluded campground areas just off Joe Brown Rd. The same USFS campground area that a drifter from Alabama made his base of operations for several weeks. 

A man, woman, and child living in their vehicle in one of the coldest weeks of the year: you can bet would have raised a "red flag" for experienced USFS Agent Shawn Reece--who likely would have immediately gotten on the radio and called Monroe County Sheriff Dispatch for a 10-29 check on the vehicle and it's occupants. That's "IF" he had driven in the secluded campground areas--which have become less and less user-friendly over the past few years; it's almost as if they hope that the  large pot-holes on the road, the garbage, and lack of mowing will discourage use of this facility. 

If not for Scott Williams, who recognized the wandering Minnesotans on Hwy 68--the case may have had a sad outcome. See how Bromen was captured HERE

Monday, March 13, 2017

Missing girl found near Coker Creek Welcome Center

Claire Cooney kept hidden for a week in a Forest Service campground behind the Coker Creek Welcome Center 

Brian Cooney hadn't seen his daughter Claire for over a month. On Sunday her non-custodial mother, along with her "wanted fugitive" traveling companion, and 6 yr. old Claire were spotted walking on Hwy 68 by an alert store owner. It's now presumed they were walking because there was a "BOLO" (be on the lookout) for their vehicle bearing a Minnesota license plate, or had car trouble with their vehicle--regardless, it's likely they were on a typical Sunday walk, and had planned to return to their campsite.

The secluded area where the trio was camping for several days has long been a favorite spot for drifters and gold-panners--and, has become a breeding ground for crime and illegal activities-- Claire was kept there for a week without Forest Service Agent Shawn Reece being aware that a "wanted fugitive," Claire, and her mother were in his jurisdiction.
About 3 years ago, a drifter from Alabama made the same secluded campground area near the Welcome Center his base of operations, see Peeping Tom Arrested.

The trio likely (did) visit-as told by P.I. Renee Brewer, the Coker Creek Welcome Center, but did not raise any suspicion--this facility, founded by Don Charest  (made up of almost 100% recent Northern move-ins), welcomes newcomers--especially couples with a school age child... Did the staff ignore the missing child posters?...In 2005, during time of the disappearance/search for Franny Graham, who lived just across the road, no missing person's posters were seen in or around the Welcome Center--in fact, the newly hired contract facility postal worker at the time (Barbara Coleman), said she wasn't told about Franny's disappearance, even 6 months after she started...How could this be?...Well you see, bad publicity is "bad for tourism and land sales."

While the trio traveled through middle TN, they attracted the attention of an alert store owner,--when they arrived in Monroe county, another alert store owner from (Williams Mountain Market) recognized the group from a missing person flyer. 
Claire's natural blond hair had been dyed black, and with make-up, looked older  

Monday, January 23, 2017

Making Monroe County 'Safe Again', MCSD on Dateline NBC

A 'dumb mistake' by the accused helps prosecutors close the Bob McClancy Murder

Being profiled on a Dateline NBC episode, especially a 2 hour episode was a head-turner...over the past decade, suspicious deaths were common... 
At times, it seemed like MSNBC reporter Keith Morrison was conducting a "deposition" on Det. Travis Jones, who was clearly uncomfortable with some of the questions. Lack of training, and at times, a disregard for standard 'law enforcement guidelines', compromised several death investigations. 

The McClancy murder was solved, mainly because of 'a dumb mistake' by the accused'--described in the outline below, and Mclancy's stepson alerting the authorities of what he had discovered in a computer given to him by Martha Ann... (the case had been dismissed in 2006 before it went to trial, because of police mishandling of the evidence).

 If you watched the Dateline episode, you may notice striking similarities in the suspicious death of Charlie Young--in a 45 minute narrative, Charlie's son describes what he has uncovered about his father's death--watch Marvin Young Victim of Corruption.

Among the major players in the Secrets in the Smoky Mountains episode were Attorney Matthew Rogers, Former MCSD Captain Travis Jones, VA investigator Nate Landkammer, and from the 10th Judicial District Prosecutor's Office-Cindy Schemel and Mac McCoin. 

A brief outline of the Dateline 'Secrets in the Smoky Mountains' 

  • in 2006, Capt. Jones becomes suspicious that he has a 'staged death investigation' and not an apparent suicide.
  • Pictures found on a digital camera show several poses of the victim, as if the perpetrator was deciding which photo would best serve to disguise his crime.
  • The initial indictment of 'negligent homicide' was dismissed in court because Captain Jones failed to get a warrant for the camera.
  • Martha Ann and Chuck Kaczmarczyk were preparing to lessen their storage items, so they could travel the world--Now comes the biggest mistake of their criminal enterprise: Martha Ann gives her adopted son Sean a desktop computer, which had the same incriminating pictures on a file folder--(several posed pictures of Bob McClancy, before his alleged 'suicide' was reported on a 911 call back in 2006).
  • Sean sees the pictures and calls Martha...she quickly realizes how damaging the pictures could be and tells Sean: "For God's sakes, Delete those Pictures." ...Sean becomes suspicious that his dad's death was not a suicide.
  • Sean now has the pictures, and they are legally his, because Martha Ann gave him the computer.
  • The prosecutor's office re-opens the case--although prosecutors generally steer clear from cases which have been dismissed--the fact that the victim was a retired cop from Florida, may have played a significant role in re-opening the investigation. And, the Feds were involved... building a case of Social Security Fraud and other charges. It would have been terrible 'PR' for the DA's Office to stand-by and 'do nothing'...
  •  In 2016, Chuck and Martha Ann received lengthy prison sentences.