published Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Half of recent gambling raid arrests in Chattanooga resolved

Chief Bobby Dodd, third from left, speaks with police officers near the scene of an officer-involved shooting just after midnight Friday morning, April 13, 2012. Police raided an illegal gambling operation just off Gunbarrel Road around midnight. Most of the participants were given citations, but one was wounded after producing a weapon.
Chief Bobby Dodd, third from left, speaks with police officers near the scene of an officer-involved shooting just after midnight Friday morning, April 13, 2012. Police raided an illegal gambling operation just off Gunbarrel Road around midnight. Most of the participants were given citations, but one was wounded after producing a weapon.
Photo by Jake Daniels /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Nine of 17 men arrested during an April 12 gambling raid on Gunbarrel Road either have pleaded guilty or their charges have been dismissed by prosecutors.

Two of the men arrested on more serious charges in connection with the raid of ATC Healthcare at 1618 Gunbarrel Road are scheduled for appearances before General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck today.

Clifford Billups, 33, faces attempted murder and six other charges from the raid. Chattanooga police Investigator John Patterson, 29, shot Billups as he exited the rear of the building, which police had surrounded before the raid.

Video viewed by media showed that Billups was carrying a firearm and raised his weapon before Patterson fired.

Police say William Evans, 44, served as security for the gambling operation. He also is scheduled to appear in court today on charges of aggravated gambling promotion and possession of a controlled substance.

Because Billups and Evans face felony charges, they cannot be resolved in Sessions Court, so they're expected to enter a plea and Shattuck will decide whether to send the case on to the Hamilton County grand jury for possible indictment.

Owner of ATC Healthcare, Kenny Higdon, 43, waived his Sessions Court hearing and had his charges sent to the grand jury. He has an appearance on a felony charge of aggravated gambling promotion scheduled before Criminal Court Judge Don Poole on Thursday.

On Monday, Criminal Court Judge Christie Mahn Sell dismissed charges against Kevin England, 41; Kenneth Burton, 34; and Ramon Grant, 31, at the request of prosecutor Neal Pinkston. Pinkston told Sell that video surveillance showed the men were not actively involved in gambling when the raid occurred.

Pinkston declined to comment after the hearing.

Six others either already had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor gambling charges or did so on Monday, according to court records. John Cable, 58; William Johnson, 66; Darryl Hibdon, 57; Donald Young, 58; James Tinker, 75; and Terry Hartman, 50, have pleaded guilty. They were required to forfeit any money seized during the raid and most were placed on pretrial judicial diversion, which allows charges to be dismissed after a probationary period. Exact amounts of the money forfeited were not available Monday.

Four co-defendants -- Raymond Crawford, 69; Alexis Tarumianz, 65; Neil Spitalny, 61; and Dale Roesel, 28 -- have Sessions Court dates scheduled for July 31.

Roesel also faces charges of public intoxication and disorderly conduct from a separate incident on April 22, more than two weeks after the gambling raid.

Ralph Kennedy, 51, is scheduled for a Sessions Court hearing on Aug. 21.

Contact staff writer Todd South at 423-757-6347 or tsouth@timesfreepress.com.

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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