Evaluation ordered for Finnegan at Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute

Sean Finnegan, one of two defendants in a series of gruesome alleged crimes in Oak Ridge some time between December 2019 and August 2020, including murder, sex crimes, and kidnapping, is pictured above in a mugshot from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.

A forensic evaluation has been ordered for Sean Finnegan—one of two defendants in a murder, sex crimes, and kidnapping case in Oak Ridge—at Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute.

The forensic evaluation was ordered last Tuesday by Anderson County General Sessions Court Judge Roger Miller. The order was based upon a petition by the defense and a recommendation from Ridgeview Behavioral Health Services. Finnegan, 52, had an evaluation scheduled at Ridgeview in Oak Ridge on August 31.

Under the new order, he is to be evaluated at the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute—Intensive Services Program for a maximum of 30 days regarding his competency to stand trial and his mental condition at the time of the alleged crimes (the insanity defense).

IQ testing is to be included in the evaluation, the order said. The mental health evaluation is also expected to include a finding about whether Finnegan meets specific criteria for being committed.

It’s not unusual for defendants in homicide cases to have a mental health evaluation of this type. The results are generally not available to the public.

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Ice cream truck driver charged with aggravated kidnapping allegedly had gun

Troy Allen Stansberry, 29, of Knoxville, was arrested Aug. 27, 2020, after he allegedly kidnapped a 15-year-old Clinton girl in an ice cream truck and took her to a hotel in Caryville “for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity,” according to the Clinton Police Department. (Photo courtesy CPD)

The ice cream truck driver who allegedly kidnapped a Clinton girl in July had a pistol and threatened to shoot the girl if she didn’t get into his vehicle, according to a court affidavit.

Troy Allen Stansberry, 29, of Knoxville, took the 15-year-old girl, who had been reported as missing, from a Clinton neighborhood to a Budget Host Inn in Caryville “for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity,” according to the affidavit and the Clinton Police Department.

The girl, who is not being publicly identified, told police that she entered the Pela Ice Cream truck after Stansberry showed her the pistol and threatened to shoot her if she did not get in, according to the affidavit. The girl did not want to make Stansberry mad, so she got into the vehicle, said the affidavit, which was filed by Clinton Police Department Sergeant Scott Gregory.

Stansberry has been charged with aggravated kidnapping. Stansberry took the girl without consent or permission, the affidavit said.

[Read more…]

Evaluation ordered for Finnegan, charged with murder, rape, kidnapping

Sean Finnegan, one of two defendants in a series of gruesome alleged crimes in Oak Ridge between December 2019 and August 2020, including murder, sex crimes, and kidnapping, is pictured above in a mugshot from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.

An evaluation at Ridgeview Psychiatric Hospital has been ordered for a 52-year-old man charged with murder, rape, kidnapping, and abuse of a corpse in a series of gruesome crimes allegedly committed against a 36-year-old woman in a home in east Oak Ridge between December 2019 and August 2020.

The evaluation was ordered for Sean Finnegan in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge on Friday. The evaluation was recommended by Finnegan’s attorney, who was able to show why it should be conducted, Anderson County General Sessions Court Judge Roger Miller said in the order.

Finnegan is represented by Kathy Kroeger, a public defender in the Seventh Judicial District in Anderson County.

The evaluation by Ridgeview is expected to include Finnegan’s competency to stand trial and his mental capacity at the time he allegedly committed the crimes against Jennifer Gail Paxton of Knoxville. It is also expected to include an IQ test and an evaluation of Finnegan’s ability to assess his conduct.

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Judge denies motion to reduce bond for Dishman, who could face death penalty

Rebecca Dishman, one of two defendants in a series of gruesome alleged crimes, including murder, sex crimes, and kidnapping, is pictured above in a mugshot from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.

Note: This story was last updated at 11:45 p.m.

An Anderson County judge on Tuesday denied a motion to reduce the $1 million bond for Rebecca Dishman, and a prosecutor said the state could consider the death penalty in the “especially heinous” murder.

Dishman, 22, is one of two defendants charged with murder, sex crimes, kidnapping, and abuse of a corpse in a series of gruesome crimes allegedly committed against Jennifer Gail Paxton, 36, of Knoxville, in a home in east Oak Ridge sometime between December and August.

Dishman had a hearing in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge on Tuesday afternoon. She was represented by defense attorney Paul Sexton.

Sexton said Dishman waived her right to be in court, and she did not appear to hear the discussion of her case. On Dishman’s behalf, Sexton asked Anderson County General Sessions Court Judge Roger Miller to reduce her bond.

“She’s a woman of limited means,” Sexton said, and there is no way she can afford to be released on bond.

Under the law, Dishman is entitled to a reasonable bond, Sexton said.

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Bond for Finnegan set at $1 million in murder, rape, kidnapping case

Sean Finnegan

Note: This story contains graphic content. Reader discretion is advised.

Bond for Sean Finnegan was set at $1 million on Monday. It’s the same bond his co-defendant, Rebecca Elizabeth Dishman, received on Friday.

Finnegan, 52, and Dishman, 22, are charged with murder, sex crimes, kidnapping, and abuse of a corpse after a 36-year-old woman, Jennifer Gail Paxton, was allegedly tortured, raped, and strangled, and her body was allegedly cut and broken before being stuffed into a freezer in a home in east Oak Ridge.

Finnegan has been charged with five felonies after the Oak Ridge Police Department responded to a homicide report at the home on East Fairview Road on Wednesday night and found Paxton’s body during a search of the home early Thursday. The five felony charges against Finnegan are first-degree murder, aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence.

Dishman has also been charged with five felonies: first-degree murder, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated kidnapping, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence.

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Victim identified, bond set at $1 million for Dishman

Rebecca Dishman

Note: This story contains graphic content. Reader discretion is advised.

Bond was set at $1 million on Friday for Rebecca Elizabeth Dishman, one of two Oak Ridge defendants charged with first-degree murder, sex crimes, and kidnapping after a 36-year-old woman was allegedly tortured, raped, and strangled, and her mutilated body was stuffed into a freezer.

The identity of the victim, Jennifer Gail Paxton, hadn’t initially been released because authorities wanted to ensure that family members had been notified of her death. On Friday night, the City of Oak Ridge said Paxton’s family had been notified.

Dishman, 22, one of the two defendants, has been charged with five felonies after Paxton’s death: first-degree murder, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated kidnapping, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence.

Her co-defendant, Sean Finnegan, 52, has also been charged with five felonies: first-degree murder, aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence.

Finnegan could have his bond set Monday, according to records in Anderson County General Sessions Court.

[Read more…]

For members: Judge finds probable cause in attempted murder of deputy

Charles Mason Preliminary Hearing July 25 2019
One count of attempted first-degree murder and five aggravated assault charges filed against Charles Edward Mason, 52, of Anderson County, were sent to the grand jury after a preliminary hearing in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Clinton on Thursday, July 25, 2019. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

CLINTON—One charge of attempted first-degree murder and five counts of aggravated assault, among other charges, were sent to the grand jury after a two-hour preliminary hearing in July for an Anderson County man accused of pointing a revolver at two deputies and pulling the trigger two or three times.

The defendant, Charles Edward Mason, 52, had faced 24 charges, including two counts of attempted first-degree murder, eight counts of aggravated assault, three counts of aggravated kidnapping, and weapons and drug charges, among other violations. Eleven charges were sent to the grand jury, although it is possible that the grand jury could consider the charges that have been dismissed.

Charles Mason Preliminary Hearing July 25 2019

One count of attempted first-degree murder and five aggravated assault charges filed against Charles Edward Mason, 52, of Anderson County, were sent to the grand jury after a preliminary hearing in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Clinton on Thursday, July 25, 2019. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

 

CLINTON—One charge of attempted first-degree murder and five counts of aggravated assault, among other charges, were sent to the grand jury after a two-hour preliminary hearing in July for an Anderson County man accused of pointing a revolver at two deputies and pulling the trigger two or three times.

The defendant, Charles Edward Mason, 52, had faced 24 charges, including two counts of attempted first-degree murder, eight counts of aggravated assault, three counts of aggravated kidnapping, and weapons and drug charges, among other violations. Eleven charges were sent to the grand jury, although it is possible that the grand jury could consider the charges that have been dismissed.

Mason, who unsuccessfully sought to represent himself during the hearing, has a violent crime history. He has previously pleaded guilty to two homicides, one in Knox County, Kentucky, in 1994 and the other in Anderson County, Tennessee, in 2010.

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For members: Man charged with attempted murder of deputy has two homicide convictions

Charles Edward Mason

Note: This story was last upated at 7 a.m. May 31.

CLINTON—The Anderson County man charged with attempted murder after allegedly pointing a gun at a deputy and pulling the trigger twice in April has previously pleaded guilty to homicides in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Charles Edward Mason

CLINTON—The Anderson County man charged with attempted murder after allegedly pointing a gun at a deputy and pulling the trigger twice in April has previously pleaded guilty to homicides in Kentucky and Tennessee.

The first homicide conviction was in Knox County, Kentucky, in 1994. The second was in Anderson County, Tennessee, in 2010. The defendant, Charles Edward Mason, now 51, received a nine-year sentence in the first case and a seven-year sentence in the second. He had been accused of shooting a man with a pistol in the first case, the one in Kentucky, according to Knox County court records. He reportedly stabbed a man in the Anderson County case 15 years later.

When he was charged with attempted murder in Anderson County this year, Mason was on probation in a different case involving drug and driver’s license violations. He had pleaded guilty in January to possessing more than 0.5 grams of methamphetamine for resale and driving on a revoked or suspended license. He had received a 10-year sentence, and he had agreed to be declared a habitual motor vehicle offender as well, according to Anderson County court records.

Now, he is facing 24 new charges in Anderson County, including two counts of attempted first-degree murder, eight counts of aggravated assault, three counts of aggravated kidnapping, and three drug charges, among other counts.

The rest of this story, which you will find only on Oak Ridge Today, is available if you are a member: a subscriber, advertiser, or recent contributor to Oak Ridge Today.  Already a member? Great! Thank you! Sign in here. Not a member? No problem! Subscribe here: Basic

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If you prefer to send a check, you may do so by mailing one to: Oak Ridge Today P.O. Box 6064 Oak Ridge, TN 37831 Note: Most news stories on Oak Ridge Today are free, brought to you by Oak Ridge Today with help from our advertisers, sponsors, and subscribers. Some are considered premium content. This story is premium content. Premium content can include in-depth, investigative, and exclusive stories.

Warrants: Man charged with attempted murder after pointing gun at deputy, pulling trigger

Charles Edward Mason

An Anderson County man is facing 24 charges, including attempted murder, after he allegedly showed a gun, threatened several people, refused to let two of them call for help, and pointed the weapon at responding deputies and pulled the trigger twice, officers said.

The gun did not fire after Charles Edward Mason, 51, pointed it at a deputy because Mason’s T-shirt got caught in the gun, according to arrest warrants filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Clinton by Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Jake Stone.

The charges filed against Mason include:

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(For members) Man sentenced to 35 years in assaults against women

Jason Bradley Braden

Jason Bradley Braden

Jason Bradley Braden

 

CLINTON—A Clinton man was sentenced to 35 years in prison when he pleaded guilty on Wednesday to attempted second-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated assault in a series of assaults that involved four female victims in three cases.

One of the victims, a grandmother in her 70s, was hit in the face with a crowbar and had a fractured skull and teeth knocked out, according to facts cited in Anderson County Criminal Court during the plea agreement hearing in Clinton on Wednesday.

The defendant, Jason Bradley Braden, 30, was ordered to serve 100 percent of his 35-year sentence.

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(For members) Five ORPD officers injured in fight with defendant

Oak Ridge Police Department Badge

Five Oak Ridge Police Department officers were injured in a fight with a defendant on Saturday, a man was held against his will by the defendant, and officers used a Taser on the defendant more than once, police said.

Oak Ridge Police Department Badge

Five Oak Ridge Police Department officers were injured in a fight with a defendant on Saturday, a man was held against his will by the defendant, and officers used a Taser on the defendant more than once, police said.

The 39-year-old defendant is now charged with five counts of aggravated assault on an officer and aggravated kidnapping, among other charges.

It’s not the first time the man has been accused of assaulting a police officer. In September, he pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer in a previous case.

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