KINGSTON, Tenn. — Prosecutors expect Scottie Mayfield's son to plead guilty to vandalism in connection with a tire-slashing case left over from his father's unsuccessful congressional bid.
A judge is likely to grant judicial diversion to Michael Mayfield, which means the 33-year-old farmer will avoid punishment beyond a form of probation, officials said. Judicial diversion usually involves no jail time and allows a misdemeanor to be expunged if a defendant stays out of trouble for a year.
"Both sides are in agreement that he should be deserving of diversion," said Bill Reedy, the Roane County assistant district attorney handling the case. "It's very rare for a court to reject that."
Reedy said diversion applies to this case because Michael Mayfield has no previous criminal record, a blank slate that was jeopardized earlier this year as the offense made national headlines.
During an April 24 Mayfield campaign event at the Roane County Courthouse, surveillance cameras caught the younger Mayfield exiting his father's campaign bus, crossing the parking lot and taking a pocketknife to the left rear tire of a 2005 Audi.
The car belonged to Tyler Threadgill, a campaign aide to U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.
Threadgill and another Fleischmann adviser were on hand to videotape a speech by the elder Mayfield, then considered a top threat to Fleischmann in Tennessee's 3rd District Republican primary. A bystander alerted the aides to the deflating tire as they drove away from the Mayfield event.
Two days after the slashing, Michael Mayfield confessed to his father and the police. Scottie Mayfield immediately issued a written apology that said "this kind of activity has no place in campaigns," but he contradicted himself a few weeks later.
"Who would have thought your son would have the passion that he had to lose his head after watching those guys follow us around for two days?" Mayfield told a local Republican group in June, according to audio obtained by the Chattanooga Times Free Press. "I'll tell you this. I don't like at all what my son did, and I'm ashamed of it. But I'm not ashamed of why he did it."
Fleischmann won the Aug. 2 GOP primary.
Michael Mayfield was scheduled to enter a plea at a court hearing Monday, but prosecutors postponed the case to Sept. 24 after defense attorney Michael Jenne requested extra time to comply with diversion procedures, officials said.
Reedy said a judge will decide the diversion issue at the Sept. 24 hearing.
Threadgill declined to comment on behalf of himself and Fleischmann. Jenne and Michael Mayfield did not return calls seeking comment.
Chris Carroll covers federal politics for the Times Free Press. A Chattanooga native, he went to Red Bank High School and graduated with honors from East Tennessee State University. Chris investigated violent crime, municipal government and hospitals before taking the political beat. For tornado coverage, he and Pam Sohn won a first-place Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors deadline reporting award. In 2010, Chris won the Golden Press Card Award of Merit and another deadline reporting ...