published Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Molestation claim questioned in beating death

A homicide detective testified Tuesday there is no evidence that a man who was beaten, left naked in front of a local motel and later died had molested one of the defendant's daughters.

But a witness who told the girl's mother about the alleged molestation before the beating testified in the same hearing that the girl said she'd been touched "between her legs."

Chattanooga police Detective Lucas Fuller testified that he interviewed the father of defendant Jennifer Hatfield-Streeval, 32, and the woman's daughter and neither said the child had been molested by Garner Lee Isbill.

Isbill, 76, died two months after a March 18 beating that police say Hatfield and 28-year-old John Moncier administered at the Lee Highway Motel 6. Both Hatfield-Streeval and Moncier face criminal homicide charges in connection with Isbill's death.

On Tuesday, Hamilton County General Sessions Judge Christie Mahn Sell sent their charges to the grand jury for possible indictment.

Fuller testified that witnesses told him Hatfield-Streeval, Moncier and others were drinking heavily in a motel room and Hatfield-Streeval left her daughter briefly with Jodi Hughen, who had just arrived at the party.

Hughen testified Tuesday that the girl told her Isbill had touched her "between her legs." When Hatfield-Streeval returned, Hughen relayed what the girl had said.

Hatfield-Streeval then punched Isbill, and she and Moncier dragged him down the second-floor walkway and down concrete steps to the ground floor, stripped him naked to "embarrass him" and Moncier kicked the man in the head, Fuller testified.

The pair went upstairs but Moncier went back and kicked Isbill in the throat and head, Fuller said.

Moncier and Hatfield-Streeval both washed blood from their shoes and clothing and told her not to call police, Hughen testified.

But Fuller testified that Hatfield-Streeval's father later told him the child never mentioned any molestation and the girl, when questioned by child abuse advocates in the presence of police, said Moncier and Hatfield-Streeval beat up "the old man" because he'd broken their radio.

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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