Lonnie Savage guilty of lesser charges in box cutter attack on his boss

Lonnie Savage guilty of lesser charges in box cutter attack on his boss

June 9th, 2011 by Todd South in News

Lonnie Savage waits in the courtroom as members of the jury are selected for his trial in Chattanooga. Savage was on trial for attempted first-degree murder and aggravated assault.

Photo by Allison Carter/Times Free Press.

A 62-year-old man faces a shorter prison sentence after a jury found him guilty Wednesday of lesser charges in a 2009 slashing attack on his boss.

A Hamilton County jury found Lonnie Savage guilty of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment for slashing his boss, Tommy Sims, nine times with a box cutter during work at the ADM Southern Cellulose Products Co. on July 10, 2009.

"I think they reached the right result," said Savage's attorney, Lloyd Levitt. "It's the result Mr. Savage was willing to accept almost two years ago."

Savage initially was charged with attempted first-degree murder, which carries a sentence of 15 to 25 years. Savage faces three to six years for the aggravated assault charge and one to two years for the reckless endangerment. He also could receive probation.

Judge Barry Steelman revoked Savage's bond and place him in custody at Silverdale Correctional Complex until a July 25 sentencing hearing.

From the trial's outset, Levitt admitted his client had attacked Sims but said Savage "snapped" from mental illness compounded with family and work pressures while arguing with Sims.

Assistant District Attorney David Schmidt, one of two prosecutors in the case, said the jury did a good job.

"They considered all of the evidence and did what they thought was right," Schmidt said. He declined further comment.

Through witnesses and evidence during the trial, prosecutors Schmidt and Bret Alexander tried to show that Savage had exhibited rising aggression toward co-workers and Sims before the attack.

Levitt argued that his client had growing mental and emotional problems and did not plan or intend to attack Sims that July day but simply "lost control."

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