published Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Court Briefs: Grand jury gets smothering case

Grand jury gets smothering case

Hamilton County Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck sent attempted murder and child abuse charges against a mother to the grand jury Tuesday.

Monica Hammers, 41, has been free on a $55,000 bond since May 6, according to jail records. Police arrested and charged the Smyrna, Tenn., woman after a witness at Erlanger hospital told security officers that Hammers tried to smother her 4-year-old son.

The boy had been brought to the hospital for court-mandated medical testing and was accompanied by his mother. The boy had a broken arm that was scheduled to be set, according to an arrest report.

The boy began to cry and a witness watched Hammers tell her son to shut up and place a pillow over his face for about five to six seconds, according to police.

When Hammers realized someone was watching her, she removed the pillow and ran into a bathroom, the incident report states.

The boy was placed in protective custody.

Hearing Monday in murder case

The court date for a 22-year-old man charged in connection with the shooting death of another man has been moved to Monday.

Chattanooga police arrested Tyrone Carmichael last week and charged him with first-degree murder and unlawful weapons possession in connection with the April 5 shooting death of Cordarrius Armour, 23, at the Okie Dokie Mart on Roanoke Avenue.

Carmichael is being held in the Hamilton County Jail.

Man pleads guilty to fraud charges

A man pleaded guilty to three counts related to Social Security fraud in federal court Tuesday.

In exchange for the plea, the U.S. attorney’s office dismissed nine of the original 12 counts filed against Harold Lynn Cole, 56.

Cole pleaded guilty to wire fraud, Social Security fraud and aggravated identity theft.

According to court documents, Cole stole the wallet of a co-worker referred to only as “DM” in Arizona.

Beginning in 2006 and until March, Cole, who uses a wheelchair, filed for and received Social Security disability checks in Chattanooga for $900 to $1,200 monthly in DM’s name.

Cole stole $68,034, according to court documents. DM discovered his information was being used to collect benefits when he filed for benefits after discovering he had colon cancer.

Wire fraud carries a maximum 30-year sentence, Social Security fraud a five-year sentence and the identity theft charge would add two years onto whatever sentence Cole receives.

U.S. Magistrate Bill Carter scheduled Cole for sentencing on Sept. 8.

Mathews’ mom seeks trial delay

Federal public defender Anthony Martinez filed documents Tuesday seeking more time before the July trial of his client Kathleen Mathews, mother of Jesse Mathews, who is accused of killing a police sergeant.

In his filing, Martinez asked for an additional 60 days from the scheduled July 5 trial, stating that he had not yet received materials to prepare for the trial and he would be on vacation for part of June.

Mathews, along with her husband, Ray Vance Mathews; daughter Rachel Mathews; and her daughter’s boyfriend, James Poteete, face multiple charges accusing them of aiding Jesse Mathews before and after police say he shot and killed Chattanooga Police Sgt. Tim Chapin, according to court documents.

The shooting occurred April 2 during a botched robbery at the U.S. Money Shops on Brainerd Road.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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