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Local News Stories from 92.3 WNPC
Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Gorrell on suspension without pay
A Newport Police officer was arrested Sunday morning by local authorities after he allegedly threatened his wife on Saturday. Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes released information regarding the arrest on Monday saying he and Newport Chief of Police Maurice Shults made the arrest of Patrolman Travis Gorrell, 38, Brookview Drive, Newport, at 12:15 a.m. on Sunday. Chief Shults said the officer currently is on suspension without pay. The warrant in the case was obtained by Deputy Sgt. Bob Schaff and the officer's wife, Wendy, charges Gorrell with domestic assault, based on allegations made by Mrs. Gorrell. It was served without incident for domestic assault with "no" bodily injury or physical violence alleged. The victim said she and Officer Gorrell had been arguing for several days, so she decided to go to the home of her mother, taking along her daughter. Travis Gorrell got into the vehicle and allegedly refused to exit, saying she should move out of state "so I don't blow your head off." When the couple's daughter told her father she was recording his behavior on her cell phone, he allegedly grabbed the device. The girl and her father then allegedly fought over the phone. The officer reportedly slammed his head on the door of the auto and in the process, slammed the knee of his daughter. Mr. Gorrell also allegedly told his wife his best friend is a mortician and if decided to leave him or get him fired from the police force, "no one would be able to find her body." The victim indicated that she will seek an order of protection and also file for divorce. Following his arrest, Gorrell was released on a $1,000 bond. In court on Monday, Cocke County General Sessions Judge Brad Davidson re-set the hearing for March 18 and added several bond conditions for the defendant; he is to have no violent contact with his wife, he may possess his weapon only for work and the court also ordered the couple into marriage counseling. In December, 2012, Officer Gorrell was forced to lie on the ground at gunpoint and he was dis-armed by two men who had just robbed the Tennessee State Bank in Newport.

Toddler death
An 18 month-old boy died Sunday afternoon in a freak accident at his home on the Cocke/Sevier County line. Sevier County Sheriff Ron Seals identified the victim as Aden Christopher Ball, the son of Becky Ball, Cocke County Line Road, Cosby. Cocke County Sheriff's officers, First Call EMS and the Newport Rescue Squad were sent to the scene at 4:24 P.M. on reports that a child had been ran over by a vehicle. Cocke Co. authorities later determined that the home was actually in Sevier County. Sheriff Seals says his officers arrived at 6:38 P.M. to find the child dead at the scene. Further investigation revealed that several family members were working on a farm tractor in the yard of the home when they asked a 17 year-old relative to move a truck. The driver did not see the child and pulled forward running over the victim. Adults in the home told investigators they did not realize the child had wandered outside prior to the incident. The Tennessee Department of Children's Services is participating in the investigation along with the Sheriffs Office. Manes Funeral Home of Newport is handling arrangements for the graveside service which is scheduled for 3:00 P.M. Wednesday, in the Dockery Cemetery in Sevier County.

Cocaine and meth net prison terms
A man with a lengthy history of cocaine dealing, Monday entered another guilty plea in Cocke County Circuit Court. Laythaniel Haney, 56, Rock City Road, Newport, pleaded guilty to two counts of the sale and delivery of cocaine, as a Range II offender. The subject who had nine previous cocaine charges, indicted he has medical issues. The plea agreement provides for a sentence of 20 years, but Judge Ben Hooper will hold a hearing to determine the method and manner of service of the sentence. A Newport couple also pleaded guilty to methamphetamine charges. Joshua Moore, 36 and his 34 year-old wife Tanya were jailed in April after Newport authorities found two active pots of methamphetamine in their vehicle. Later officers went to the couple's home on Old Knoxville Highway, where the owner of the residence asked the officers to inspect her home. Ms. Dean Moore reported she had been feeling sick since her grandson and his wife had been staying with her. She also reported that some time earlier she heard a "boom" upstairs but because of her medical condition could not investigate the source. Joshua Moore reportedly told his grandmother the sound was the result of his throwing a battery into the commode. The police found the commode charred from a fire or explosion, and also discovered an unfinished methamphetamine lab, as well as a quantity of items used in the manufacture of the drug. Mr. Moore pleaded guilty to the manufacture of methamphetamine, and received an eight year sentence. He also faces charges in Sevier County. Mrs. Moore entered a "best interest" plea to promotion of methamphetamine manufacture, as well as aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, aggravated burglary and theft. In October, 2013 Mitzi Turner reported she awoke in her Shale Road, Newport home, to find a subject leaning over her, wearing a Halloween mask and putting gray duct tape on her mouth. The victim said her attacker held a knife to her throat, beat her on the head and then choked her. After getting loose, Turner says she reached up and yanked the mask from her attacker and identified Moore who she described as a twenty year-long friend. Judge Hooper gave Mrs. Moore a 12 year prison term and ordered her to pay a $3,000 fine.

Several arrested during Sex Offender Registry sweep
As the NewsSource reported earlier this month, local authorities with assistance from the U.S. Marshall Service picked up several individuals who had violated the provisions of the Sex Offender Registry. During the two day sweep dubbed "Operation Safe Streets" the Cocke County Sheriff's Office, Newport Police Department and Marshall Service checked a total of 94 registered sex offenders in Cocke County. The operation funded by the United States Marshall Service, consisted of residence verification, drivers license check to confirm proper address and evaluation of the restriction code on identification. During the sweep, seventy percent of the residences were searched. Weapons where located at one home, and four sex offenders were arrested for Violation of the Sex offender Registry. One sex offender was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana and and schedule IV drugs, three citations were issued for simple possession of marijuana, and two for drug paraphernalia. " The coordinating agencies will continue to keep our citizens safe and hold accountable those who are required to be monitored for crimes committed against others," said Sheriff Armando Fontes, Newport Police Chief Maurice Shults and Derrick Swenson Senior Inspector Sex Offender Investigations Coordinator for the U.S. Marshals Service.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

  • Gorrell on suspension without pay
  • Toddler death
  • Cocaine and meth net prison terms
  • Several arrested during Sex Offender Registry sweep

    Monday, September 22, 2014

  • Lost Creek Golf Course fire
  • Zillgitt-Stowers charged with abuse of adopted daughter
  • Turner charged with animal cruelty
  • Dandridge fire claims lives of two dogs

    Saturday, September 20, 2014

  • Cocke shooting incident is investigated
  • CLB to meet in special session
  • Baxley pleads to kidnapping, carjacking and assault charges
  • ConAgra declares dividend
  • High School Football

    Friday, September 19, 2014

  • Partnership board meets
  • Jobless rate increases in Tennessee
  • Tennessee poverty rate down slightly
  • Arrest made in murder of Bybee man

    Thursday, September 18, 2014

  • Cox arrest
  • Road rage leads to arrest
  • Grooms and Reese arrested
  • Whitten home damaged by fire
  • Williams arrest
  • Ball responds to Republican charge

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