|The Knoxville News-Sentinel |
December 3, 2001
Article Text:Woman killed by float in parade accident McMINNVILLE -- A woman was killed when, during a Christmas parade, she fell off a float driven by her husband and occupied by two of their three children. Police said Rhonda Thomas, 35, of Warren County died Saturday night after being run over by the float in the annual parade. Witnesses said the float was nearing the staging area after completing the major part of the parade route. Police said she had gotten off the float and onto the tongue of the trailer when she either slipped or missed a step and fell into the path of the right axles of the trailer. The float was pulled by a tractor driven by the woman's husband of 15 years, Tim, a driver for a local trucking company. The float was sponsored by a Boy Scout troop. Rhonda Thomas died en route to a hospital after the 6:15 p.m. CST accident. Her husband told WKRN-TV she had just been accepted into nursing school. Murder-for-hire plot nets 15 years NASHVILLE -- A West Virginia woman faces up to 15 years in prison after being convicted in a murder-for-hire plot to kill her husband. Sentencing for Carolyn Ann Burdette, 39, of Reedy, W.Va., is set for Feb. 22, said prosecutor Richard F. Clippard on Friday. She was convicted Thursday in federal court for conspiracy and using a telephone across state lines with the intent to set up the murder of Randy Burdette. Mrs. Burdette was involved in an extramarital affair with Stephen Craig Adams, a soldier at Fort Campbell, Ky. Burdette persuaded Adams to seek out a sniper at the post to kill her husband. The sniper reported the contact, and an agent from the Army Criminal Investigation Division posed as a hit man and met with Mrs. Burdette. Adams was court-martialed and is serving a 14-year sentence. Fort Campbell straddles the Tennessee-Kentucky state line, near Clarksville. South Knoxville man shoots self A 20-year-old South Knoxville man ended his cellular telephone conversation with a friend Friday morning and then shot himself in the head, police said. Dereck R. McMahan shot himself once in the head with a semiautomatic pistol about 3:30 a.m. after speaking to a female friend, said Knoxville Police Department Investigator Larry Vineyard. McMahan was in a field near College Park Apartments, 301 Lippencott St., where he lived when he shot himself. Vineyard said other residents of the apartments found McMahan's body at 7:38 a.m. Man convicted of strangling benefactor BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. -- A man was convicted of strangling the woman who took him in as a foster child years before, then stealing her jewelry, money and car. A Sullivan County jury deliberated five hours Thursday before finding Duane Brooks, 24, guilty of first-degree murder and theft of more than $10,000 in the Jan. 17, 2000, slaying of Carol Hendrickson, 55. "I feel sorry for the circumstances that he put himself in, but he got what he deserved," said David Hendrickson, one of the victim's children. Brooks was sentenced to life in prison for the murder conviction. He will be sentenced Jan. 11 on the theft charge. Hendrickson's children testified their family welcomed Brooks into their mother's home in 1994, but learned from her over the years that he'd become verbally abusive and had threatened to kill her. Brooks moved out when he turned 18, returned a year later and then moved out again in 1999 when Hendrickson obtained an order of protection. That order was due to expire less than a month before Brooks went to Hendrickson's home and killed her. He later admitted to investigators that he strangled Hendrickson with his hands after they argued, then put her body in her car, drove to Fort Patrick Henry Lake and let the car roll into the water. Two Knoxville men jailed after search RUTLEDGE -- Two Knoxville men were jailed on a slew of felony charges Wednesday after allegedly trying to run over a man who blocked the driveway of a house they were burglarizing. Jason Lawrence, 18, and Jeffery Dunlap, 32, were taken into custody by authorities after a lengthy search that ultimately involved a helicopter and K-9 tracking team, according to Detective Richard Mitchem of the Grainger County Sheriff's Department. About 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, the two men allegedly burglarized a house on Indian Ridge Road. A male relative of the homeowners spotted the men carrying guns out of the house, blocked the driveway with his vehicle and then stood in the driveway, Mitchem explained. The men got into their car and tried to run the man down, Mitchem said. They later ditched their car in Blaine and left on foot carrying four rifles and shotguns allegedly pilfered from the home. After a search that lasted most of the day and involved a helicopter and K-9 team from the Knox County Sheriff's Department as well as officers from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the men were located off Patterson Town Road about 4:45 p.m. When Lawrence was arrested, he was allegedly standing in a front yard trying to make a call on his cellular phone, while Dunlap was later flushed out of the nearby woods, Mitchem said. Lawrence was charged with aggravated burglary, felony evading arrest and theft over $1,000. Dunlap is facing the same charges as well as a single count of aggravated assault with a motor vehicle. All the guns were recovered, Mitchem said.
Copyright 2001 Knoxville News-Sentinel Co.
Record Number: 452218