Avery Laverne Davenport earlier this month pleaded guilty to statutory rape by an authority figure and received a 12-year prison sentence to be served at 35%.
Davenport, 46, represented by Pikeville attorney Howard Upchurch, had been scheduled to go on trial the week he entered his plea. Assistant District Attorney Jesse Mayberry announced the sentencing agreement in court two days prior to his trial.
Davenport had originally been charged with six counts of statutory rape (victim under the age of consent) that occurred in early January 2018, according to court records. The victim was 16 years old.
Mayberry told Criminal Court Judge Jonathan Young that evidence against Davenport included a letter he wrote to the victim from jail as well as recorded conversations between the suspect and the victim from the jail.
Davenport stood silently through most of the short hearing, give short answers to the judge’s questions about whether he understood his rights, the ramifications of his plea and whether he was entering his plea voluntarily.
However, when it came time to admit his guilt, Davenport told the judge he was entering an Alford, or “best interest,” plea. This allows him to settle the case with the only admission being that there was enough evidence against him that would most likely lead a jury to convict him.
The plea goes down in the record as a guilty plea without Davenport having to say he is guilty.
The sentencing agreement calls for all remaining counts to be dropped. He agreed to have no contact with the victim and will be required to be under community supervision for life, once he serves his sentence.
Mayberry told the court that the victim and her family were aware of the sentencing agreement prior to the hearing and while they would have preferred a longer sentence, they were in agreement with the resolution. The plea prevents the young victim from having to testify in open court.
In other cases on the docket, the following took place:
•James Ray Easterly, 51, charged with probation violation and violation of the sex offender registry law, pleaded guilty to both charges and received a total of one year to serve in jail, with credit for time served. In July 2019, Easterly was accused of changing residency without reporting the change to his probation officer.
•Justin Lee Hale, 39, charged with felony possession of more than .5 grams of methamphetamine for sale, simple possession of a Schedule II drug, simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, pleaded guilty to solicitation of possession of less than .5 grams of methamphetamine with intent to sell and received a one-year sentence to be served on probation. All remaining charges were dropped. The charges stem from a traffic stop by Crossville Police on Oct. 23, 2018.
•Austin Shane Paul Lewis, 29, charged with theft of property of $2,500 to $10,000, felony possession of methamphetamine and theft of property of $1,000 to $2,500, pleaded guilty to simple possession of meth and received a nine-month jail sentence to be served at 75%. The charge stems from an arrest Aug. 24, 2018, by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office. He pleaded guilty to attempted theft of more than $1,000 stemming from the theft of a utility trailer belonging to Jerry Turner on Sept. 16, 2018, and received a nine-month jail sentence to be served at 75%. He pleaded guilty to attempted theft of more than $2,500 of a Hustler Raptor mower and trailer from Jason Cook and received a two-year prison sentence to be served at 30%, for a total of two years at 30%.
•Jerry Lee Phagan, 74, charged with sale and/or delivery of marijuana, pleaded guilty to simple possession of marijuana stemming from a Sept. 16, 2018, arrest, and was fined $250, is to pay court costs and was placed on probation for 11 months and 29 days.
•Reece Michael Aytes, 25, pleaded guilty to an information charging attempt to possess more than .5 grams of methamphetamine for resale and received a six-year prison sentence to serve, concurrent with General Sessions probation violation sentence, at 30%. The charge stems from his Sept. 9, 2019, arrest.
•Bruce L. Parks, 32, pleaded guilty to an information charging aggravated burglary stemming from an Oct. 8, 2018, burglary on Goodwin Ct., and received a four-year suspended sentence to be served on supervised probation.
•Rueben Shiloh Pedde, 42, pleaded guilty to an information charging evading arrest and child neglect and received a three-year prison sentence to serve at 30%, with credit for 52 days already served. The charges stem from an Aug. 16, 2019, arrest.
•James Quarry, 47, pleaded guilty to an information of violation of the sex offender registry law for being found at the Obed River Park near a playground on Sept. 6, 2019, and received a one-year prison sentence.
•Jason Allen Smith, 41, pleaded guilty to an information charging vandalism of more than $1,000, stemming from a Sept. 30, 2019, arrest.