Just days after being declared competent to stand trial, Jurgen Horst Whitfield pleaded no contest to killing his mother in 2011 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. On Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney Carey Thompson informed the court that after almost five years of delays due to mental evaluations, 57-year-old Whitfield had been deemed competent to face a charge of second-degree murder for the Dec. 25, 2011, death of 78-year-old Ingrid Maria Whitfield. During a hearing in Dickson County Circuit Court Friday, Whitfield pleaded no contest to the charge and received the minimum sentence of 15 years in a plea agreement. Second-degree murder is a class A felony with a potential sentence of 15-60 years in prison. During the hearing, Thompson said Whitfield placed a 911 call Dec. 24, 2011, reporting his mother was unresponsive after a fall down the stairs in the Old Eastside Road home they shared in Burns. Mrs. Whitfield died the following day at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and an autopsy revealed she had suffered blunt force trauma to the head and numerous other injuries. “Mr. Whitfield admitted he was the source of those injuries,” Thompson said Friday. Investigators said Whitfield admitted striking his mother with his hands. Public Defender Jake Lockert recommended Whitfield be incarcerated in a special needs facility because of his 25-year history of treatment for schizophrenia and paranoia and a recent diagnosis for Parkinson’s Disease. With his hands visibly shaking, Whitfield said he just wants to “proceed with this” when asked by Judge Larry Wallace if he understands he has a right to a trial. Whitfield will be required to serve 85 percent of his sentence before being eligible for release, which is 12 years and nine months. With credit for the almost five years he has been in custody, Whitfield could be eligible for parole in seven years and 10 months. In previous court appearances, Lockert reported Whitfield was delusional and blamed his mother’s death on Nazis. After Mrs. Whitfield’s death, neighbors reported strange behavior by Jurgen Whitfield, including chasing his mother in their yard while wearing a German-style military uniform. Following Whitfield’s preliminary hearing, Lockert said his mental illness would make it “difficult” for Whitfield to ever stand trial. As of Monday, Whitfield remained in the Dickson County Jail.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday morning in the second attempt to start the trial of a Charlotte man for the shooting death of his girlfriend. 52-year-old Steve Marty Jarman of Maple Valley Road is charged with first-degree murder for the April 18, 2015, death of 49-year-old Shelley Denise Heath. Jarman’s trial originally was scheduled to start last Wednesday but Judge Larry Wallace postponed it in order to conduct a hearing on the admissibility of some of the prosecution witnesses’ testimony. He reset the trial for today, which had been scheduled for the start of the vehicular homicide trial of 36-year-old Johnny Morgan Dye for the 2014 wreck that killed Jacob T. Akers. But Dye’s trial was postponed to April 17 because of schedule conflicts with several “essential” prosecution witnesses. Deputies responding to Jarman’s home on April 18, 2015, found Heath suffering from a gunshot wound to her torso. It was at first reported to be self-inflicted. Heath died from her injuries in a Nashville hospital. In December, Jarman was indicted for voluntary manslaughter and was scheduled to stand trial in May. But that trial was postponed at the request of defense attorney Olin Baker. In June, a superseding indictment increased the charge against Jarman to first-degree murder after the grand jury heard additional evidence from the medical examiner’s report. During a hearing last week, Wallace heard some of the anticipated testimony from Heath’s brother and two sisters about a 2013 incident in which Jarman allegedly assaulted Heath, about threats he allegedly made against Heath and one of her sisters and that Heath planned to leave Jarman when she received a check for an insurance claim. Heath’s brother testified at the hearing that he saw Jarman choke, punch and “boot stomp” his sister in the 2013 incident. Jarman was charged with aggravated assault but at his trial Heath testified Jarman did not attack her and the jury found him not guilty. The prosecution says there will be testimony that Jarman attempted to cash Heath’s insurance check three days after her death. Jury selection is scheduled to begin this morning with opening statements and testimony to begin after a jury is seated. The trial is expected to last 2-3 days and the jury is not being sequestered.
A funeral service will be held Tuesday for former Dickson County Register of Deeds Glenn Johnson. Mr. Johnson died at his home Saturday at the age of 84. He served 32 years as general agent at Farm Bureau of Dickson County and owned and operated Johnson’s Orchard. When Clyde Buckner retired as Dickson County’s register of deeds, Mr. Johnson topped a five-candidate field by 165 votes in 1990. He was re-elected without opposition in 1994. Following his decision to retire, Deputy Register Jackie Wall Farthing won a five-candidate race to replace Mr. Johnson and served until retiring in 2014, when Deputy Register Shelly Yates was elected. Mr. Johnson was active in the Dickson Civitan Club and served on the board of directors for the Dickson County Soil Conservation District. He was a member of First United Methodist Church in Dickson. Visitation with the family of Glenn Johnson will be 2-8 pm Monday at the Spann Funeral Home and 11 am-1 pm Tuesday at First United Methodist Church. The funeral service for Mr. Johnson will be at 1 pm Tuesday at the First United Methodist Church on Main Street in Dickson with Rev. Steven Lee officiating. Burial will be in Dickson County Memorial Gardens. Mr. Johnson is survived by his wife of 60 years, Margaret Barnett Johnson; a son, Bill Johnson; a daughter, Lori Johnson Mangrum; four grandchildren, Bethany Lee, Will Johnson Jr., J.R. Johnson and Zachary Hood; and three great-grandchildren, Aiyana Kolb, Jacob Kolb and Rose Marie Johnson. Services for Glenn Johnson are under the direction of Spann Funeral Home.
Without discussion, the Dickson County School Board approved a calendar for the 2017-18 school year at its meeting Thursday night. Director of Schools Dr. Danny Weeks said there were no changes to the draft calendar that was presented to board members at their work session last month. The new calendar follows the same basic schedule used in the last few years with only minor changes. School begins Aug. 1 and ends with a half-day on the Saturday before Memorial Day, May 26, 2018. The changes from the current school calendar are a shorter Spring Break and instead of two half-days for teacher planning, there is a third full day of staff development. Weeks said faculty reported the half-days were ineffective. The current school year calendar has seven days out of school for Spring Break March 16-24 while the 2017-18 calendar will have a five-day Spring Break March 26-30, 2018. The current calendar has two half-days for teacher planning and two full days for staff development. The 2017-18 calendar has three full days for staff development on Sept. 5 2017, Oct. 30, 2017, and Jan. 2, 2018. There is still a full day out of school for parent-teacher conferences on Nov. 6, 2017, after administrators reported at Thursday’s meeting that the faculty thinks the change from a couple years ago is allowing them more time to meet with parents. The only thing still missing from the 2017-18 calendar is the date for the Homecoming celebrations at Creek Wood and Dickson County high schools. The coaches and athletic directors at the schools could not begin forming their 2017-18 schedules until after the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association finalized its district and region alignments at the Board of Control meeting Thursday. With those alignments now official, administrators can create their schedules and determine when they will celebrate their football Homecoming games. In 2014 and ’16 the Homecomings at both high schools were held on the same day, meaning all schools dismissed after half a day. In all other seasons, the schools scheduled Homecoming on different days and only the schools in each high school’s cluster attended half a day. The Homecoming dates will be added to the calendar once the schedules are completed. The board approved the 2017-18 calendar unanimously with no discussion Thursday night. Board member Steve Haley said the board used to approve school calendars two years ahead of time and Weeks said he would be in favor of returning to that practice.
Dickson County Schools 2017-18 Calendar
Aug. 1, 2017 – First day of school
Sept. 4, 2017 – Labor Day (no school)
Sept. 5, 2017 – Staff Development (faculty only)
Oct. 2-13, 2017 – Fall break
Oct. 30, 2017 – Staff Development (faculty only)
Nov. 6, 2017 – Parent-Teacher conferences (faculty only)
Nov. 22-24, 2017 – Thanksgiving break
Dec. 15, 2017 – End of semester (half-day)
Dec. 18-29, 2017 – Christmas break
Jan. 1, 2018 – New Year’s Day (no school)
Jan. 2, 2018 – Staff Development (faculty only)
Jan. 15, 2018 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day (no school)
Feb. 19, 2018 – Presidents Day (no school)
Mar. 26-30, 2018 – Spring break
April 20, 2018 – School break (no school)
May 17, 2018 – Creek Wood graduation
May 18, 2018 – Dickson County graduation
May 26, 2018 – Last day/report cards (half-day)
After getting a split in the regular season opener at Cheatham County Friday night, the Creek Wood Red Hawks will be in action today in Alabama while the Lady Red Hawks will open tournament action Wednesday in Chapel Hill, Tenn. Despite losing four starters to graduation, the Red Hawks dominated the Cubs in Ashland City Friday, never trailing in a 63-26 rout. Creek Wood was ahead 38-16 at the half as all 10 players on the roster saw playing time. Coulter Dotson led the Red Hawks with 28 points including five three-pointers while Dallas Hill added 16 with four treys. The Lady Red Hawks began their season under new head coach Sam Young with a 51-38 loss. A cold start saw the Lady Cubs jump ahead 26-12 at intermission and lead by as many as 22 in the second half. But a fourth-quarter rally saw the Lady Red Hawks cut the difference as low as 11 points before leaving with the 13-point loss. Taylor Moore was the only Creek Wood player in double figures with 10 points. The Red Hawks travel to Huntsville to play the N2Hoops Invitational at Bob Jones High School. The Red Hawks will face the host Patriots at 2:15 pm Monday. Regardless of the outcome, Creek Wood will play its second game at 8 pm Tuesday. If they survive without two losses, the Red Hawks will play again at 10:30 am Wednesday. The Lady Red Hawks will play in the Forest Thanksgiving Invitational starting Wednesday. The Dickson County Lady Cougars also will play in the Forest tournament while the Cougars get their first regular-season action Nov. 28 with the home-opener against Harpeth. Creek Wood and Bob Jones can be heard on WDKN and 101.5 The One FM, their streams and apps starting at 2 pm today.