Tag Archives: convicted

Convicted Judge Seeks Reinstatement of State Pension

Just before the anniversary of one of Knoxville’s most horrific crimes, the judge who threw the case into legal chaos is now appealing the state’s move to rescind his pension, reports The News Sentinel.
“It burns me up, especially this coming upon the anniversary” of the Jan. 7, 2007, torture-slayings of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23, said state Sena. Randy McNally, a Republican whose district includes parts of Knox County as well as Anderson, Loudon and Monroe counties.
Former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner lost his pension after a jury in U.S. District Court convicted him in October of felony charges of misprision of a felony for his role in covering up a prescription painkiller conspiracy of which his mistress was a part.
His pension had been spared when, in March 2011, he pleaded guilty to a state charge of official misconduct for buying pills from a felon on probation in his court. He was granted a diversionary sentence that kept the charge off his record.
The entire case against him stemmed from a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe that showed Baumgartner had been committing a slew of crimes, including doctor shopping and using a graduate of the Drug Court program he helped found as his mistress and pill supplier, while presiding over trials including those of the four defendants in the Christian/Newsom case.
Revelations of those allegations and additional ones unearthed by a News Sentinel probe ultimately led to the granting of new trials for those four defendants. One, Vanessa Coleman, has already been retried. A judge is set to decide later this month if the remaining three suspects should be afforded new trials.

Judge Convicted on Five of Six Federal Charges

A once-famed Knox County judge who spent 19 years sending criminals to prison now faces his own stint behind bars, reports Jamie Satterfield.
A 10-woman, two-man jury in U.S. District Court on Friday deemed already disgraced former Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner guilty of five of six federal charges of lying to cover up his pill-supplying mistress’ role in a drug conspiracy.
The convictions immediately cost Baumgartner his state pension.
He faces a March 27 sentencing hearing at which federal prosecutors are expected to seek the maximum three-year sentence he faces on each count, although U.S. Attorney Bill Killian said Friday it is unlikely U.S. District Judge Ronnie Greer would stack each of the five sentences onto the other.

Woman Convicted of Helping Kill Monroe Election Commissioner

MADISONVILLE, Tenn. — Jessica Kennedy may not have killed Jim Miller, but she helped someone else do it.
That was the decision a jury reached Monday night in the case of the 2010 slaying of the 60-year-old chairman of the Monroe County Election Commission.
More from the News Sentinel:
The jury deliberated for a little more than seven hours before returning verdicts of facilitation of felony murder, facilitation of aggravated robbery, facilitation of arson and facilitation of abuse of a corpse, all lesser included offenses of the original charges against her.
Miller was shot in the head three times, and his body stuffed into the trunk of his car, which was then set ablaze. The verdicts mean that Kennedy will not be facing life in prison, which she would have been had she been convicted of felony murder. The murder facilitation conviction carries a sentence of 15 to 25 years.
Kennedy burst into tears and hugged her attorney, John Eldridge, and other members of her defense team.
“Those were tears of relief,” Eldridge said.
Senior Judge Walter Kurtz set sentencing for Oct. 3 at 9 a.m.

Miller’s widow, Vickie Miller, left the courtroom without comment.
“This is not everything we wanted, but I feel they came back with as fair a verdict as they could,” said Miller’s daughter by a previous marriage, Mechelle Miller. “We want everybody responsible in this to pay, and we also want the truth.”
Authorities say other people were involved in the crime.
“Maybe this will give us an opportunity to find out who,” prosecutor Jim Stutts said.

Georgia Man Convicted in Courthouse Takeover Case

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A jury convicted a Georgia man Tuesday of a federal firearms charge in what authorities said was a plot to take over a Tennessee courthouse and force President Barack Obama out of office.
Darren Wesley Huff, 41, was found guilty of carrying a firearm in interstate commerce with the intent to use it in a civil disorder. He was acquitted of using a firearm in relation to another felony. He faces up to five years in prison.
“The verdict on count one reflects exactly what the law is supposed to do, which is prevent harm before shots get fired, people hurt, or property damaged,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Mackie told reporters after the verdict.
Scott Green, Huff’s attorney, did not comment after the verdict. When he spoke The Associated Press on Monday before the verdict, Green quoted former New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay: “Those who suppress freedom always do so in the name of law and order.”
Huff was stopped by Tennessee officers in April 2010 and told them he was bringing guns into the state from Dallas, Ga., to support efforts to arrest Monroe County officials who refused to indict Obama.
Huff was a part of a Georgia militia and the ‘birther’ movement that disputes Obama’s U.S. citizenship.
Officers testified Huff was carrying a loaded Colt .45 in a holster on his hip plus an assault rifle and 200 or 300 rounds of ammunition in a tool box in his truck. They said he also had a document he claimed was a “citizens’ arrest warrant” for officials, saying they were domestic enemies and had been charged with treason.
Huff testified that he wanted to help Walter Fitzpatrick, a military retiree living in Madisonville, who was arrested after he tried to put the local grand jury foreman under citizen’s arrest. Fitzpatrick, who became hostile to the government two decades ago when he faced a court-martial, is in jail over that incident.
Huff choked back tears as he told the jury Friday that he was humiliated because “my government has called me a potential domestic terrorist.”
He denied he threatened to take over the courthouse in Monroe County, which is about halfway between Knoxville and Chattanooga.
“I have never made a statement about taking over the courthouse, the city, the state, nothing,” Huff said.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan ordered Huff into custody following the jury’s conviction. Huff, wearing a light green shirt and khakis, was handcuffed by officers in the courtroom. A sentencing hearing was scheduled in February.