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Federal meth sentences meted

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By The Staff

Last year’s roundup of meth suspects turned out to be a good haul for law enforcement.

Eighteen of the 21 defendants have been sentenced in federal court so far.

The average sentence has been 94 months.

Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton said it’s a plus when local law enforcement can get someone charged federally because the punishments are much stiffer.

“Not to downplay the state because it has guidelines it has to go by, but the federal government has tougher punishments on a lot of that stuff,” he said.

“We just love it, and that’s why it’s so important to have a good working relationship with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

The 21 defendants were charged in a 264-count federal indictment last year.

The government accused them of conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine.

The Drug Enforcement Administration along with several area sheriff’s offices, including Roane, participated in the investigation.

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Twelve protesters charged with trespassing at the Y-12 National Security Complex were found guilty following a three-day trial, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The protesters, Jean T. Gump, Elizabeth Ann Lentsch, Bradford Lyttle, William Bichsel, Bonnie Urfer, Carol Sue Gilbert, Ardeth Platte, Jacqueline Hudson, Paula Rosdatter, Michael Walli, Steve Baggarly and Dennis Duvall, were charged with willfully and without authorization entering upon the property.

“The defendants entered the property after a lawful anti-nuclear protest held adjacent to the Y-12 facility,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release.

The maximum possible punishment is one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said sentencing dates for the protesters had not been set.

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The autopsy results of a deceased Wartburg police officer will be key in determining whether charges are upgraded against a man being held at the Roane County Jail.

Eddie Patterson is charged with aggravated assault for fighting with Wartburg Police Capt. Ralph Braden on April 22.

According to the District Attorney General’s Office, Braden had surgery to repair damage to his shoulder that occurred as a result of the altercation with Patterson.

“After being released from the hospital following surgery, Braden was discovered unresponsive the following morning and immediately sent back to the hospital, where he remained in critical condition for nine days before dying soon after the life support system was removed on May 2,” the District Attorney’s office said in a press release.

An autopsy was performed on Braden at the University of Tennessee Forensics Center.

“Preliminary autopsy results have not yet been released,” the office release said.

“These results are necessary to determine whether the medical examiner can testify ‘to a reasonable degree of medical certainty’ that the altercation was the ‘proximate cause’ of Braden’s death. If so, then the pending charges against Patterson may be increased.”

The sheriff’s office has been holding Patterson for Morgan County authorities since May 3.  

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A 63-year-old man spent part of his birthday in jail after two women accused him of assault.

According to a sheriff’s office incident report, the women told officers that Oliver Butler threw rocks at them as they loaded an infant into a van at 133 Teague Road in Rockwood on May 7.

The report also said Butler was born on May 7, 1948.

Officers later found Butler at his home on Eureka Road. He was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated assault.   

The women told officers that throwing rocks wasn’t the only thing Butler did.

“They also stated he pulled a semiautomatic pistol from his belt, racked the slide, pointed at their van and fired two shots,” the incident report said.

One of the women also told officers that Butler threatened to shoot her son, the report said.

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