Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

November 25, 2013

Burglary, theft case appear headed to trial

Motion to have charges tossed denied

By Michael R. Moser

CROSSVILLE — An effort by the Public Defender's Office to have charges against a defendant tossed, based on the testimony of the suspect's husband of nine years, failed and, barring a last-minute plea agreement, the case appears headed for trial.

Farrah Lynn Coleman, 36, whose address on arrest was listed on Kellett Dr., is facing charges of aggravated burglary and theft of less than $500, which was the target of motions filed by Assistant Public Defender Jennifer Kollstedt that challenged the state's evidence.

The only witness to testify during the recent hearing was the defendant's husband of nine years, Jeffery Lee Coleman. He told Judge Leon Burns that in the early summer of 2012 he came upon a motorist with a disabled vehicle who offered him jewelry in exchange for assistance.

Coleman said he did not know the name of the man he helped who gave him the jewelry that had been reported stolen in a house burglary. He testified under oath he gave the jewelry to his wife who, in turn, sold the jewelry.

Sheriff's Investigator Jerry Jackson testified he talked with both Coleman and the defendant about different issues, and wrote Coleman's statement down. Jackson testified that there was no written statement from the defendant, and no audio tape was made of the interview.

"I don't like that," Burns said after the hearing. "You (the officer) can say whatever you want ... " Burns' reference was toward the sheriff's department's policy of not video or audio taping interviews and statements taken from suspects.

The judge, as well as several defense attorneys, have criticized the practice in the past.

After mulling the issue, Burns ruled there was enough evidence to forward the case to trial and continued the case to the Jan. 29 deadline docket and set it for trial on April 23.

Unrelated charges of simple possession/casual exchange of marijuana, possession of a prohibited weapon and possession of drug paraphernalia, were continued to Jan. 29.