Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

May 9, 2013

Meth case search upheld; 3 to face trial

'Knock and talk' search ruled legal

CROSSVILLE — Three Cumberland Countians are headed for an Aug. 15 trial date on charges of initiation of the process to manufacture methamphetamine after a Criminal Court judge upheld a 'knock and talk' consent to search granted by one of the defendants.

In a hearing last week, Cumberland County Sheriff's Investigator Jeff Slayton was the only witness to testify during the lengthy hearing, and in the end, the only evidence Judge Leon Burns had to consider was Slayton's remembrance of the events that took place just over a year ago.

Defendants in the case are Cindy Ann and Ronald Dale Dillaha and are represented by Randal Boston. Scott Michael Emerson is represented by Jimmy Smith. The state's case was presented by Assistant District Attorney Caroline Knight.

A fourth defendant has not been arrested on the indictment and remains on the run.

Boston and Smith filed motions have the search ruled illegal and have any evidence seized as a result of that search ruled inadmissible as a result.

The main issue was whether Cindy Dillaha had authority to grant permission to search the home she shared with her husband, and with Emerson, who had spent the night prior to the search in the residence as a guest.

Slayton is a member of the sheriff's department's CNET (Criminal Nuisance Enforcement Team), a group of about half a dozen deputies trained to focus on high crime areas. Slayton also has training as an advanced methamphetamine cleanup technician, in addition to being an investigator with the department.

On April 19, 2012, Slayton, Sgt. Jason Elmore, K-9 Deputy Danny Stone and Deputy David Moore went to the Dillaha's 94 Layken Dr. address in response to anonymous telephone and email complaints concerning suspicious traffic at the residence.

He testified that he went to the residence for a 'knock and talk' contact, during which officers make contact with residents who live in homes where complaints have been made, tell the resident what the complaints are, and ask for permission to search the residence to confirm and put to rest the information the department has received.

Cindy Dillaha answered the door and Slayton testified that he told her, "Most of the time we don't find anything, but sometimes we do."

After talking with Dillaha at the front door, officers were granted permission to search. However, Slayton said a rather large dog was present and Dillaha was asked to have the dog put in a safe area. One of the occupants took the dog outside at which time he was spotted by Stone dropping something by a backyard fence.

Later officers recovered syringes and other drug-related contraband.

Slayton testified that a search of the entire house was conducted, and that Emerson was found in one bedroom, sitting on a bed. In a dresser hidden behind clothes, deputies found three clear, plastic bottles. One of the bottles was what the investigator described as a "one-pot" meth lab. Other bottles contained components relating to clandestine meth lab production.

In other areas items associated with meth manufacturing were seized, and in a bathroom off the Dillaha's bedroom, syringes were recovered.

When asked by Knight if anyone objected to the search, Slayton responded, "I was never asked to stop the search."

Under cross examination, Smith asked Slayton why he did not get a consent to search document signed by the Dillahas or by Emerson. Slayton responded that he had received permission from Cindy Dillaha.

Boston asked if it was routine to search a house "based on emails and anonymous phone calls." Slayton responded that many tips come to the department that way.

The four were taken to the Justice Center but were not charged at the time. Instead, information about the search and seizure was presented to a grand jury and the four were indicted last year.

No defense witnesses were called, and instead, Boston and Smith relied on case law they presented to forward their position, and oral arguments.

In her argument, Knight argued that not only was permission to search granted, but a reasonable search took place and that the search was proper. She added, "Emerson lacked standing to challenge the search because he was a guest. There is no proof he received mail at the residence, had a house key."

Smith countered that he believed his client did have standing to challenge the search and said the investigators should have been professional enough to get a consent to search document signed. "It was an unreasonable search," he said.

Smith added that he believed Cindy Dillaha did not have the power to waive her husband's interest when she granted the search.

Burns found that there was no testimony disputing Slayton's statement that Cindy Dillaha granted permission to search. The judge added that the search was carried out "without objection" or complaint, and therefore was a legal search.

Although the trial is set for Aug. 15, there is a possibility that another date for hearing additional motions will be set at a later time.

1
Text Only
Area News
  • trail 1.jpg Working on the trail

    Volunteers were out Saturday morning constructing a trail at Meadow Park Lake. This was phase one of trail building, explained John Conrad, Crossville Trails organizer, with volunteers clipping twigs and branches and raking a path. Bruce Whitehead, George Schlenker, Lee Skinner and Pat Schudiske rake a path about three feet wide. Later, larger obstacles, such as fallen trees, will be removed, and topsoil removed on the trail to aid in trail maintenance. The trail will be about 1.5 miles in length.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Panel waives ticket charge for boosters

    The building and grounds committee approved a request to waive a portion of the ticket fees for a school sports booster group planning a truck and tractor pull at the Cumberland County Community Complex, but the committee cautioned the group it would take action by the full Cumberland County Commission to relieve them of the obligation to return 10 percent of the gate charge to the county.

    April 23, 2014

  • Jury seated in Batty slaying case

    A jury plus alternates has been seated and began hearing evidence in the trial of John Russell Giles of Hampshire Lane, Fairfield Glade, charged in connection with the Nov. 7 death of Kimberly Ann Batty, 58, of Dovenshire Dr., also Fairfield Glade.

    April 23, 2014

  • New site sought for convenience center

    An expansion at Colinx and the improvement of a city street will require Cumberland County to move a convenience center. The city of Crossville has proposed a site in the same general area, but commissioners on the county's building and grounds committee were concerned about the cost to make the site suitable for a convenience center and the proximity of the Little Obed River.

    April 23, 2014

  • Hwy. 70 crash.jpg CCHS student dies in car crash

    Crossville Police have identified the victim of a two-vehicle collision that occurred Tuesday morning on Hwy. 70 W at the intersection of Dillon St. as a sophomore at Cumberland County High School.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_0783.JPG Visitors center now open to the public

    A ten-year effort to establish a gateway to the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, as well as to point tourists and visitors to the many other area parks, historical sites and points of interest, concluded Thursday as the community gathered with officials from the city of Crossville, Cumberland County, the Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce and the National Park Service to dedicate the Crossville-Cumberland County: Gateway to the Big South Fork Visitors Center on River Otter Dr.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shots fired during standoff over domestic situation

    Chickens were killed, threats of bodily harm made and at least three shots fired in the presence of a Cumberland County sheriff's deputy during a domestic dispute between an uncle and nephew.

    April 22, 2014

  • Jury selection set in Batty slaying

    Jury selections were scheduled to begin today in the trial of John Russell Giles of Hampshire Lane, Fairfield Glade, charged in connection with the Nov. 7 death of Kimberly Ann Batty, 58, of Dovenshire Dr., also Fairfield Glade.

    April 22, 2014

  • Thoughts for this holy time of Easter

    The first performance of George Friderick Handel's masterpiece, "Messiah," was given in Dublin, Ireland, on April 13, 1742, where it was well received. When it was performed in England there were criticisms of the music, performers and location of the performance. It was held that the subject matter was too exalted to perform in an opera house, but rather it should be performed in church. Wouldn't it be interesting if we knew how many times this magnificent music has been performed in the past 272 years?

    April 22, 2014

  • Joe Goodwin.JPG Warden Joe Goodwin remains a true original

    The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency celebrates its 65th anniversary this year, and Crossville's Joe Goodwin is part of that living history.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice