Niota businessman to remain behind bars until February on child porn charges

Niota businessman to remain behind bars until February on child porn charges

December 4th, 2013 by Alex Green in Local Regional News

Terry Lynn Hayes' detention appeal felt like it was over from the start.

Then there was a photo of three young bikini-clad girls with guns and sunglasses, standing over a counter lined with a powdery substance at Hayes' home in Niota, Tenn.

Hayes shook his head now and again, his chains rattling.

He is charged in federal court with one count of transportation of child pornography, one count of possession of child pornography, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm, two counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine to a person under 21 and six counts of distribution of a controlled substance to a person under 21.

The appeal hearing was supposed to happen last week but got moved to Tuesday to give Hayes' attorneys more time to prepare.

Hayes, a 44-year-old businessman with companies in Harvey, La., and Niota, went before U.S. District Judge Harry S. "Sandy" Mattice Jr. on Tuesday to ask to be released from federal custody on bond. He was refused bond in October by U.S. Magistrate Judge William B. Carter.

Hayes' attorneys lobbied for Hayes' pretrial release leading up to his Feb. 18, 2014, trial date. Again the appeal was denied.

Mattice said at the onset Tuesday that it was probably not going to go Hayes' way.

"I believe the burden, then, is on you to meet what I consider a very high standard," Mattice said to Stephen T. Greer, one of Hayes' attorneys.

In October, Carter called Hayes "a danger to community" and wrote "there is no condition or combination of conditions that can ensure the safety of the community or his presence at future hearings."

Greer said that ruling was "contrary to law" and "clearly erroneous."

Mattice rebutted plainly: Tell me why.

Greer repeatedly asked why authorities didn't think Hayes was dangerous a year ago, when investigators started looking into allegations that he had inappropriate relationships with minors. That ought to be proof enough, he said.

"To me, it's an anomaly for the government to take this position that this man is a danger to the community," he said.

Greer said there is also no proof that Hayes had any inappropriate contact with minors between summer 2012 -- the time of the gun and alleged drug photo -- and Sept. 26, 2013, when Hayes was arrested on 11 federal charges.

"I agree, there is no proof," Mattice said. He gestured toward the photo of the girls at Hayes' home, still projected on the courtroom wall. "But this is pretty strong proof."

Greer disputed the evidence, asking if it were not possible for the girls in the photo to be holding their own guns, standing over their own drugs.

Mattice called it a "reasonable inference" to say the girls got the guns and drugs upon arrival at Hayes' house.

At the end of Tuesday's hearing, there was nothing to make Mattice believe that Carter's Oct. 3 ruling was either erroneous or contrary to law.

"Therefore, I am going to deny Mr. Hayes' appeal, and he will remain in custody," he said.

Contact staff writer Alex Green at or 423-757-6731.