Thursday, August 9, 2012
Two suspects bound over to grand jury
By SUE WATSON
A preliminary hearing for four defendants charged with aggravated assault and kidnapping of an H.W. Byers student was held in justice court Tuesday of last week.
Two defendants, Gregory Jenkins, 30, of Hardeman County, Tenn., and Alexander Carter, 24, of Saulsbury, Tenn., waived their rights to a preliminary hearing and await the outcome of a grand jury proceeding. Jenkins was represented by attorney John Keith Perry of Southaven. Carter was represented by attorney Kent Smith, public defender in Marshall County.
Ashley Hardeman, 19, of 321 Hurdle Club Road, whose attorney Kevin Frye of Oxford was out of town, will be back in court August 8 at 10 a.m. with her attorney. County justice court judge Mae Garrison continued Hardeman’s hearing and also the hearing for Xavier Parks, 31, of Saulsbury, Tenn., represented by attorney Lucius Edwards of Hernando.
Carter and Parks are half brothers.
Edwards asked for more time to prepare for the preliminary hearing for Parks, telling the judge he had insufficient time to look over the charges and talk with his client.
“I don’t feel I am adequately prepared today to proceed with the preliminary hearing and have had insufficient time to request discovery,” he said.
Edwards also asked for all statements made by co-defendants and any possible eyewitnesses in the case as well as bond reduction for his client.
County attorney Shirley Byers objected to both requests.
“The state does object to a bond reduction,” Byers said. “In my opinion he (Parks) is a flight risk and he had to be found and brought back from Chicago. I also object to discovery until if and when he is entitled to discovery from law enforcement.”
Byers said the preliminary hearing is to establish probable cause and that Edwards knows what the charges are against his client.
“Bond reduction is denied,” Garrison said. “On the motion for discovery, the preliminary hearing is for probable cause. It is (charges are), in fact, a felony, two counts. I will deny the motion for discovery.”
Byers then asked for the continuation of the hearing for Ashley Hardeman, sister of victim Charles Hardeman, saying she had a telephone conversation with the attorney who was in Boston and he asked for the continuance.
At that juncture, Garrison attempted to deliver papers regarding the continuance to Ashley Hardeman but she refused to accept the papers and walked away from the bench.
Hardeman then went to the exit and sat in the floor.
“Ms. Hardeman, get up and have a seat until the court dismisses you,” Garrison said.
Hardeman refused loudly and Maj. Kelly McMillen said he would escort Hardeman back into the jail.
Garrison then ordered McMillen to bring the defendant to court August 8 at 10 a.m. in shackles.
The four defendants are charged with aggravated assault and kidnapping of Charles Hardeman on April 11, 2012, at his home at 321 Hurdle Club Road.
Investigators believe the victim was knocked unconscious when he answered the door, that the assailants took his body to the pier and after tying a weight to his foot, dropped him into nine feet of water. A subsequent fire, that appeared to have been set with gasoline and destroyed Hardeman’s mobile home, is believed to be linked to the incident.
Miraculously, Hardeman escaped drowning when the buckle to a belt used to tie a weight to his foot broke away. Hardeman escaped the pond, went back to his house, got in his Toyota pickup, lost control of the vehicle and struck a tree not far up the road from his home. He was found and taken to the Memphis Med where he was released several weeks later.
Charles Hardeman was in court with his parents, Arthur Carpenter and Tammie Hardeman, last week. The victim also brought his teddy bear, as a companion, to court and sat between his parents during the hearing.
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