Grand jury gets Hamilton County judge death threat case

Grand jury gets Hamilton County judge death threat case

November 11th, 2011 by Kate Harrison Belz in News

Tiwann Wiley

The case of a man accused of threatening to kill a Hamilton County judge and her children has been bound over to the grand jury.

"This was not just a threat to a judge. This was a threat and an assault on the entire judicial process," General Sessions Judge Bob Moon said Thursday after the conclusion of testimony in the preliminary hearing.

He also raised the bond on Tiwann Wiley, 38, from $50,000 to $250,000.

Wiley has been charged with retaliation against a judge for making the threats to Juvenile Court Judge Emma Andrews after she refused his Nov. 2 plea to have his current sentence reduced on charges of contempt of court.

Juvenile Court Officer Marlon Williams testified that he was escorting Wiley out of the courtroom when Wiley said, "When I come back I will be strapped and I will kill that [expletive]."

He then added, "That's on the Vice Lords," Williams said, referring to the national criminal street gang.

Later in the parking lot, Wiley stated, "You tell Andrews I know where she lives and I know her address and I will kill her and her kids," Williams testified.

Williams and the Juvenile Court's office supervisor, Teresa Gravitt, added that Wiley punched and kicked holes into the walls of his holding cell at the court, causing more than $500 in damage.

During Williams' testimony, Wiley repeatedly shook his head.

Hamilton County Assistant District Public Defender Alan Dunn challenged the claim that Wiley had damaged the cell, saying he frequently has seen vandalism in those cells that was done by other inmates.

He also questioned whether Williams and Gravitt clearly remembered what Wiley said, and asked what court tapes and surveillance videos were available to back up their assertions.

After the testimony, Moon said Wiley's reference to the Vice Lords was "significant," and that Wiley's criminal history -- which includes more than 50 criminal charges in Hamilton County over 14 years -- factored into his decision to raise Wiley's bond.

Retaliation against a judge is considered a Class E felony in Tennessee. A conviction can carry up to six years of jail time.

Wiley has also been charged with vandalism and malicious mischief in connection with the holding cell damages.