Thursday, Dec. 21, 2006




Lakeview students present
holiday performance

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Fourth- and fifth-graders at Lakeview Elementary have a
rollicking good time presenting “Reindeer Jive” as part of
“Santa’s North Pole Follies” before a standing-room-only crowd Dec. 14.

Smith gets 40 years
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–A Gun Barrel City man was sentenced to 40 years in prison Friday after being convicted in the March 10 shotgun slaying of another Gun Barrel City man.
Following about two hours of deliberation, a jury convicted Timothy Lynn Smith, 28, of the murder of Johnnie Carl Morrison, and 392nd District Court Judge Tarrence Carter imposed the 40-year sentence.
The sentence included 30 years for the murder conviction and 10 years for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Smith was on parole for a 1997 conviction for injury to a child at the time of Morrison’s shooting.
Prior to the guilty verdict, Smith’s attorneys and the Henderson County District Attorney’s office reached an agreement to have the judge determine a sentence. The agreement also stipulated Smith cannot appeal the conviction.
Morrison, 32, was reportedly standing at the passenger door of a black van, next to Smith, when he was struck in the temple by a single shotgun blast.
The mid-afternoon shooting took place on Pinebloom Road in the Willowwood subdivision of Gun Barrel City, near Morrison’s home.
Divers later found a 12-guage pump shotgun, identified as the murder weapon, in Cedar Creek Lake. Witnesses told investigators they saw Smith throw the shotgun into the lake from a vacant lot in the 200 block of Seaside Drive.
A second man, William Weaver, then 40, was identified as the driver of the van, and was also charged with murder.
Smith’s attorneys, brothers Paul and John Key, argued he was defending himself from Morrison, who was drunk and armed with a baseball bat.
Eyewitnesses reported Morrison had struck the side of the van with the aluminum bat before the shooting.
Prosecutors John Scott and Assistant District Attorney Shari Moore, however, said Smith brought the shotgun with him because he intended to kill Morrison, who owed him money for drugs.
Both men were methamphetamine dealers, Moore said.
Smith will be credited with two years time served, and will be eligible for parole in about 15 years.

Game room robbery probe continues
Special to The Monitor
ATHENS–The Henderson County Sheriff’s Department continues to investigate a robbery that occurred Nov. 17.
Two armed men and one armed woman entered Pat and Don’s Game Room on State Highway 274 near Tool.
Investigators have developed new information leading them to believe other such robberies may have been committed that were not reported to authorities.
The latest information points to the planning of another robbery before the end of the year.
The crime will most likely occur in the evening hours, targeting the day’s gaming receipts.
Patrons are being warned of the dangers of being victimized in such a robbery.
Although no injuries have been reported to date, the danger still exists.
During the Nov. 17 robbery, which took place about 10 p.m., the perpetrators ordered all 24 patrons to surrender cell phones and car keys before locking them in the restrooms.
The suspects are described as wearing ski masks:
• white male (w/m) mid to late 30s, 5-10, 250-275 pounds, red hair with mustache and goatee; has one tooth missing, wore a red pullover sweatshirt with the number 58. He was armed with a small revolver.
• w/m early 20s, thin, 5-8, 120 pounds, wore a black-hooded sweat shirt, and was armed with a small revolver.
• white female in her 20s, 5-8, 110 pounds, dark hair and painted eyebrows. She was wearing a black long-sleeved pullover with a “Tommy Hilfiger” logo. She was armed with a large western-style pistol.
Anyone with information related to this crime, or the planning of a future crime, is encouraged to call CrimeStoppers at (903) 675-TIPS (8477).

Causeway Marina gets zone variance extension
By Teresa Cundiff
Monitor Correspondent

SEVEN POINTS–Marina Causeway owner Ray Roberts was granted an extension past the 60 day-limit to meet business zoning rules to reopen his gas station.
The Seven Points City Council considered his request during its regular meeting Dec. 12.
The gas station/laundry/store/RV park doesn’t fall under the current zoning criteria. However, when it was first built, it did.
In order to keep its “grandfathered” status, the rules say the business must reopen within 60 days of closing, which would be Dec. 25.
Roberts plans to renovate the property, close the laundry and open a liquor store.
However, he needs more time to get it reopened.
The council agreed to extend his deadline to Feb. 1, since it’s in the city’s best interest to retain a public marina, with boat ramp and gas station.
But, Roberts has until Christmas to reestablish at least one RV slot, in order to keep his RV park viable, the council stipulated.
In other business, the council:
• approved the financial report for November.
• ratified appointments to the city’s Economic Development Corporation board
• tabled purchasing a new police vehicle, so further shopping could be done. A new police car was approved in the 2007 budget.
Councilmember Tommy Taylor suggested a SUV would handle the terrain better than the typical squad car.
Other council members agreed, but were concerned with the price – $790 monthly is budgeted for the purchase, expected to cost between $26,000-$32,000.
Mayor Gerald Taylor said he would check into financing the purchase, and bring figures back to the council.