A Chattanooga sports announcer and radio personality will return to work after a judge dismissed his aggravated assault charge Thursday in Hamilton County General Sessions Court.
Jim Reynolds — the "Voice of the Mocs" for men's basketball and football — was charged with aggravated assault and aggravated child abuse after his wife told police he choked his 12-year-old daughter during an argument over her phone usage on Aug. 2. Reynolds denied grabbing or choking the girl, but did say he pushed his daughter onto her bed after escorting her to her room, court records show.
An officer noted red marks around her neck and back consistent with the story provided, but defense attorney Jerry Summers had an explanation for them Thursday.
"The marks on her neck were not caused by her dad, but caused by a cat where she'd spent the night before," he told General Sessions Court Judge Alex McVeagh. "And that was corroborated by two witnesses."
Based on that evidence, and an interview with the girl, prosecutors decided there wasn't sufficient probable cause to continue their case, Assistant District Attorney Alan Dunn said Thursday.
"The state has decided not to prosecute so I'm going to dismiss the case," McVeagh said.
McVeagh also dismissed Reynolds' aggravated child abuse charge Wednesday after prosecutors moved to drop it. That was partly because Reynolds' wife said she no longer wanted a temporary order of protection that magistrates have to initiate whenever someone's arrested for domestic-related abuse, Summers said.
"Petitioner testified that there was no violence, this is simply a discipline issue, [Reynolds] is a good father, this was an inter-family issue, [and] she disagrees with the police report about violence," Circuit Court Judge J.B. Bennett wrote in an order Wednesday.
Bennett added that he asked Reynolds' wife if she had been threatened to dismiss the case or been offered anything in exchange for dismissal. She said no, according to his order.
"There's a thin line between parental discipline when it comes to abuse," Summers said in court. "He loves his daughter, she loves him, they have a good family."
Summers said officers didn't have information about the cat marks and made an arrest based on what they saw. He added Reynolds also will begin taking anger management classes.
Since 1996, Reynolds has been the host of the 9-10 a.m. hour on 102.3 FM, the "Talkmonster," and that won't change because of this case. Bill Lockhart, interim program director at WGOW, said Reynolds remains an active employee at the station.
"He remains employed and we look forward to having JR back with us at the station," Lockhart said.
Reynolds, also the "Voice of the Mocs" for men's football and basketball for 37 years, will continue in that position, said Jay Blackman, senior associate athletic director for communications at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @zackpeterson918.