Gov. Lee appoints longtime prosecutor to DA post in 10th judicial district after Crump departure

Shari Tayloe, a prosecutor with nearly 25 years of experience, is the new district attorney for Tennessee's 10th Judicial District.

Tayloe, previously a deputy district attorney in the 10th District's office, was appointed to the post Monday by Gov. Bill Lee. She starts immediately, Lee said in a news release Monday.

Former DA Stephen Crump left office Friday and began his new job Monday as executive director of the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference in Nashville.

The 10th district covers Bradley, McMinn, Monroe and Polk counties.

Before Tayloe's appointment was announced, former DA Jerry Estes was tapped to lead the district on an interim basis in case Lee hadn't decided on a replacement for Crump by Monday, according to an emergency order issued Friday by Circuit Court Judge Sandra Donaghy. In the order, Donaghy said it was "unlikely" the governor would be able to make an appointment by Monday.

Estes was the top prosecutor in the 10th District for 24 years, and was the youngest DA ever elected in Tennessee at the time, according to Chattanooga Times Free Press archives.

There were seven finalists for the job, Donaghy said in the emergency order.

Tayloe holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law, according to the governor's release. She could not be reached for comment Monday.

"Shari is a dedicated public servant, and I value the significant legal experience she will continue to bring to the 10th Judicial District," Lee said in the release. "I am pleased to appoint her to this position and appreciate her service to Tennesseans."

In March, Crump announced he was stepping down to fulfill the remaining term of the conference's retiring executive director, Guy Jones, and then will serve at the pleasure of the group if it reappoints him in June 2024. Jones held the post since 2020.

Crump said he had no intention of seeking the executive director's post until a number of his fellow Tennessee district attorneys began a discussion about it. He said he sought divine guidance as he made his decision.

Crump submitted his name to the conference's search committee, and the search committee voted not to perform further searches and instead to submit his name as its nominee for the post, he said. A unanimous vote followed March 10, making it official.

Crump had been appointed temporary DA after his predecessor, Steve Bebb, resigned in 2014. Bebb, who died April 29, won the seat in 2006, according to newspaper archives.

The post will appear on the March 2024 ballot, according to Bradley County Administrator of Elections Fran Green.

Staff writer Ellen Gerst contributed to this report.

Contact Ben Benton at or 423-757-6569.