Published: January 10, 2010
One suspect accused of beating and robbing two Eagleville senior citizens transferred his parole to Tennessee and a sheriff’s detective supervisor wants to know why.
Defendants Ronald W. Damon, 36, of 901 W. Main St. was one of three suspects charged with the beating of Cecil Story, 86, and his 60-pound wife, Edna, 93, during a home invasion Dec. 27 at their secluded Floyd Road home.
Damon and co-defendants Ashton Garza, 19, of 5636 Constantine Drive in Rockvale and James Charles Pittard, 20, of McMinnville, were charged with especially aggravated burglary, especially aggravated kidnapping (two counts) and aggravated robbery (two counts) by sheriff's Detective Steve Kohler and Detective Bryant Gregory. All three have prior arrests. Pittard was charged in Cannon County on aggravated assault of a sheriff’s deputy in May.
Sheriff’s Detective Capt. Preble Acton said Damon was convicted of simple assault in 1993, aggravated assault in 1994 and drug and theft offenses in 1995. He served prison time. In 2004, he was arrested again for aggravated assault, escape and unlawful mischief. He was arrested on charges in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Vermont.
“The only time he wasn’t in trouble was when he was in prison,” Acton said.
Damon transferred his parole in May to Tennessee.
“I looked at his record as a whole and wondered why he was accepted by Tennessee,” Acton said. “This is ridiculous he was even here. Why are we taking Pennsylvania, Vermont and New Hampshire’s problems?”
Acton said she didn’t want to be a “Monday morning quarterback” but “I don’t understand why we’re taking career criminals.”
Spokeswoman Melissa McDonald of the state Board of Probation and Parole explained Tennessee is a member of the Interstate Compact, a federal process that allows offenders convicted in one state to transfer their supervision to another. This process is governed by strict federal rules. Member states must abide by the rules that govern how states will send and receive offenders from other states. All 50 states and some U. S. territories are members of the compact.
“Damon's transfer from Pennsylvania to Tennessee was mandatory under the rules of the compact because he had family in Rutherford County who had indicated a willingness to assist him in his supervision plan,” McDonald reported.
Under the compact, an offender shall be eligible for transfer if the family in the receiving state is willing and able to assist in a plan of supervision.
The board has taken action since Damon’s latest arrest, the spokeswoman reported.
“As a result of the new arrest in Murfreesboro, we have filed a parole violation report on this offender with Pennsylvania,” McDonald reported. “A new offense is a violation of parole, and could result in his parole being revoked. That decision would be made in Pennsylvania.”
Acton wondered why Tennessee has taken people on parole for years who are still in trouble.
“He’s violent,” Acton said of Damon.
Like Damon, Pittard was arrested previously outside Rutherford County.
Neighboring Cannon County Lt. Brad Hall said Pittard was arrested for aggravated assault of Deputy Tom Hall, two counts of domestic assault and felony evading arrest in May.
When Deputy Hall answered the domestic assault call, Pittard allegedly tried to run him over with a car, Lt. Hall said. He was pursued into Warren County where Pittard finally pulled over but took off again.
“As he swerved to hit Deputy Hall, Deputy Hall shot at him several times,” Lt. Hall said. “One round went through the rear window and struck Pittard. He was shot. One of the rounds that went through the car window did graze his head.”
Pittard’s hearing on the Cannon County charges is set Jan. 26 in General Sessions Court.
Garza faces charges of DUI, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia Feb. 23 in General Sessions Court.
Lisa Marchesoni may be reached at 869-0814 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.