published Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Criminal case against Craft’s investigator dismissed

The criminal charges against former North Georgia elementary school teacher Tonya Craft’s private investigator were dismissed today.

Eric Echols, who was charged with trying to influence a witness in Craft’s criminal case, said he received a letter that his charges were dismissed.

“Today is a great day,” Echols said today in an e-mail.

Lookout Mountain Assistant District Attorney Alan Norton told the judge handling Echols’ case that the state had decided not to pursue further charges, a written letter obtained by the Times Free Press shows.

After Echols was arrested he claimed it was to stop his investigation for Craft’s case before she went to trial. Craft was acquitted on May 11, 2010, in Catoosa County on charges of 22 counts of child molestation and aggravated sexual battery.

Echols was arrested after a father of one of the girls who accused Craft of child molestation complained to the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office that Echols had tried to persuade him not to testify in Craft’s trial. He was charged with three counts of tampering with a witness.

But Echols produced a transcript of the recorded conversation he had with the father, and the documents indicated the men were having a cordial conversation.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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podiebell said...

So are they going to arrest the father for submitting a false police report? I doubt it. Catoosa, Walker and Dade counties have the most corrupt police forces in America. What Tonya Craft went through is the perfect example. I fear for my civil liberties everyday.

February 10, 2011 at 1:56 p.m.
mella_yella said...

Eric Echols, who was charged with trying to influence a witness in Craft’s criminal case, said he received a letter that his charges were dismissed.

But were the charges dismissed on condition? If so, Echols may not be able to sue and collect for damages.

February 10, 2011 at 2:50 p.m.
sortwright said...

..almost exact same thing happened to me, and I am still in it. Same attempt via that court, same dog and pony neglected approach at responsibility by that guy, same irrational arrest, and wierd filled out 'official' ORDER, to conclude the case, also personal feelings on their and his end being involved, when I am just trying to save my child.

Not a joke, inquire if you like, but attention is all I have left.. you should see some of the media I have available for you all to see.. unbelievable. Even attempted a week long lasting 'bar' from our public domain..we call a court house.

Check into it.. 'Support Daddy Vs Catoosa County'

October 15, 2011 at 4:59 p.m.
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