Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

January 16, 2007

Suspect in sexual assault of boy described as also being a victim

By Michael R. Moser / mmoser@crossville-chronicle.com

Joseph Leslie Slusher, 19, of Loudon County, was scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 5 for his role in the drugging and raping of a 14-year-old male by Samuel Mark Petty, 41, also of Loudon County, that took place at an apartment near Lake Tansi in May of 2005.

Earlier this year Petty, in a surprise move, pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

But Jan. 5 Slusher's attorney, Douglas Fields, argued that considering the adversity his client has faced, he should be a candidate not only for probation, but for judicial diversion. State prosecutor Gary McKenzie agreed.

"It a sense, Joseph Slusher is a victim, himself, of Petty," McKenzie told the Criminal Court Judge Leon Burns. "He was the same age as the victim in this case when Mark Petty attacked him."

Slusher, who reportedly has a lower than average intelligence, did not participate in the attack of the young teen victim, but also did not do anything to stop the attack. "He had no physical contact during the attack and cooperated fully with investigators," McKenzie continued.

Slusher pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated child abuse in October and was facing three to six years in prison. Because of the degree of cooperation he gave investigators, Slusher was placed on judicial diversion for six years.

Conditions include no drugs, alcohol or contact with pornography, to maintain a job and attend counseling sessions.

In other Criminal Court cases, the following took place.

•Karen L. Aulich, second-degree murder and aggravated assault, continued for motions to Feb. 16; set for trial March 6.

•Paula Greenlee, possession of cocaine and possession of Diazepam for sale or delivery in a school zone, bond set at $10,000; continued until Jan. 26 at which time defendant is to return to court with an attorney.

•Kaushal (Kenny) Patel, possession of more than .5 grams of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver, continued until Jan. 26.

•Jason Sherrill, probation violation, theft more than $500, joyriding, vandalism less than $500, possession of drug paraphernalia and misdemeanor evading arrest, forfeiture and capias issued for failure to appear in court; ordered held without bond. Defendant appeared in court that afternoon, the forfeiture was withdrawn and continued until Jan. 26 at which time defendant is to return to court with an attorney.

•Joseph K. Zych, rape, continued until Feb. 16.

•Donna M. Brady, nine counts of robbery and nine counts of forgery, granted pre-trial diversion; placed on probation for one year during which time defendant is to pay $559.69 restitution.

•Charles E. Stanley, motion for new trial in rape conviction, continued until Jan. 26.

•Darrell L. Tuttle, sentencing hearing in burglary and two theft more than $1,000 cases, continued until Jan. 26.

•James E. Williams, aggravated sexual battery and two counts of rape of a child, found to be not competent at this time to stand trial. However, can be made competent to stand trial with competency training and treatment. Placed under strict restrictions, continued until Feb. 16.

•Norman David Dotson, in community corrections because of sale and delivery of Dihydrocode and marijuana, tested positive for drug use. Anthony Turner appointed to represent the defendant; revocation hearing set for Jan. 26.

•William E. Benge, on probation because of a simple possession of marijuana conviction, pleaded guilty to violating his probation with a failed drug test and was ordered to serve the remainder of his sentence. There was indication Benge will apply for the Teen Challenge program.

•Kedric A. Douglas, probation revocation hearing continued until Jan. 26 after the defendant appeared in court without an attorney.

•Vickie D. Eldridge, probation revocation hearing continued; forfeiture and capias issued for failure to appear; bond set at $600.

•Christopher C. Hassler, bond set at $5,000; probation revocation hearing continued until Jan. 26.

•Walter Steve Sherrill, probation revocation hearing continued until Feb. 16.

•Jennifer L. Stephens, on probation because of manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of meth with intent to sell or deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia convictions, pleaded guilty to probation violations and was placed under house arrest of community corrections and had probation extended for one year.

•Darron S. Thurman, bond set at $2,500; revocation hearing continued until Jan. 26.

•Michael Kyle Whicher, on probation because of an aggravated burglary and theft more than $1,000 convictions, pleaded guilty to probation violations after testing positive for meth use and was ordered to serve one year in jail.

•Nathan Perrigan, on probation because of burglary, theft and other charges, had a bond set at $10,000; Public Defender's Office appointed to represent the defendant and probation revocation hearing set for Jan. 26.