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Child-endangerment charges dropped against couple

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

In this July 2012 State Gazette photo, officers with the Dyer County Sheriff's Office prepare to quarantine the house at 40 Holly Springs Cemetery Road after dangerous hydrogen chloride fumes were produced inside during the alleged production of meth.
Four felony child-endangerment charges were dropped against a Dyersburg couple after they appeared in Dyer County Circuit Court last month.

Btitney Jones, 27, and Charles "Monkey" Russell, 39, were arrested by Dyer County Sheriff's officers in July of 2012 at their residence at 40 Holly Springs Cemetery in the Fowlkes community. The couple reportedly had four children, including a 2-month old baby, inside their home when officers found several alleged meth labs and the materials used to cook the drug. Jones and Russell were charged with manufacture of methamphetamine; initiate process to manufacture methamphetamine; and four counts of felony aggravated child endangerment. The children were ages 2 months, 14 months, 6 and 7 years old. The couple received the Class A felony child-endangerment charges under a Tennessee statute called Haley's Law. The law was applied in this case since the children were in danger inside the house with toxic fumes. Haley's Law raises most child-abuse charges to felonies with punishment of not less than 15 years and not more than 60 years. The law states the "act of abuse, neglect or endangerment results from the knowing exposure of a child to the initiation of a process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine as described in 39-17-435."

After the couple's arrest, the children were placed in the care of a relative and the house was quarantined due to contamination from the meth. The suspects appeared before Dyer County General Sessions Court Judge Jason Hudson who noted the severity of the charges and gave Russell a $500,000 bond and Jones a $100,000 bond. He then bound the case over to the Dyer County Grand Jury who indicted them on the charges in October 2012.

The couple remained in the Dyer County Jail until their appearance in Dyer County General Sessions Court last month. Court records state all charges against Jones were dropped and all of the child-endangerment charges against Russell were dropped, including the initiate process to manufacture methamphetamine. Russell did plead guilty to manufacture of methamphetamine in an amount in excess of 0.5 grams. Dyer County General Sessions Court Judge Lee Moore sentenced him to 10 years in the Tennessee Dept. of Corrections, which he will be required to serve at least 30 percent of his sentence.

A third suspect, Darren Kizziah, of Dyersburg, Tenn., was arrested outside the couple's house in a cornfield. He was charged with promotion of methamphetamine manufacture. He was indicted by the grand jury. His case has not been dispensed with at this time.

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Why do we even have Haley's Law??? This couple was caught red handed with these kids in the house... and They drop the charges??? Our Court System is a joke, so are the judges, I say, when these two are caught again for the same thing, We hold the JUDGES and the D.A.Responsible!!!

When does it stop???

-- Posted by Elvin Patch on Tue, Jan 15, 2013, at 10:00 AM

Wow, that is all that can be said.

-- Posted by liveshere on Tue, Jan 15, 2013, at 11:16 AM

Wow is my words exactly. Good job judge you deserve a pat on the back for giving these low life's a reason to sell and cook dangerous drugs with kids in the house!!

-- Posted by bsmit01 on Tue, Jan 15, 2013, at 12:27 PM

WHY were the charges dropped? Somebody paid off? This is insane!!!

-- Posted by Dude2010 on Tue, Jan 15, 2013, at 4:14 PM

This is freaking ridiculous!!!! They both deserve the charges that they had against them!!!

I guess when a child is killed, Haley's Law will be enforced!!! These DA & judges are a JOKE!!!! These are the things to remember when election time comes rolling around!!!

-- Posted by hotpocket1971 on Tue, Jan 15, 2013, at 7:21 PM

wish the state gazette would tell us why the charges were dropped and who dropped them. apparently the d.a. didn't make a very good impression on the judge or the jury. or was it the d. a. that dropped the charges?? the s.g. can't question a sheet of paper. of course, the s. g. very seldom goes to the trouble/extent/expense of having an actual reporter in the court room, so what should we expect?? they're used to the police and/or sheriff calling them in when charges are made. mug shots of people ACCUSED of a crime make different photos than beauty spots of the week. our court system is to find out the guilty and pronounce appropriate punishment. don't believe all you read in this paper, it has a BIG curve.

-- Posted by closerlook on Tue, Jan 15, 2013, at 8:05 PM

can u believe that a story that happened last month is just now making the NEWS paper?

-- Posted by closerlook on Tue, Jan 15, 2013, at 8:07 PM

This is horrible....OUR Law is procting all these criminals! us the innocence &precious babys are thier dogs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Posted by chief_ty20 on Wed, Jan 16, 2013, at 7:49 AM

This is an outrage! These children will suffer forever from the effects of breathing meth fumes. It is also deadly to pets. If a pet doesn't die from living in a meth environment, it is never healthy, so you can imagine what it does to children. BTW, the puppies or kittens born to an animal exposed to meth usually dies or is sickly, also. Shame on these people exposing their babies to meth fumes and double shame to the judge who did not take away their children FOREVER! What are they thinking?

-- Posted by Jazzybrad on Wed, Jan 16, 2013, at 10:04 AM

I guess no one noticed that the article said the male was sentenced to ten years and would serve at least thirty percent of his sentence. That means "Monkey" will be back in the house with his children in less than three years from now (counting time served and all).

On top of that, the female doesn't even get a slap on the wrist. Poor Britney was only in the house at the time because she didn't have any where else to go, I guess. Surely she was a victim, right? Just like I have a bridge to sell, too.

Our so-called "justice" system has so many holes in it that there is no way on Earth it could all be totally corrected. This is just one of so many stories that tells what is going on. I hear some people say that when it comes time to vote they will remember this or that, but that won't matter, either. Do you people not understand that it is all about money and/or politics? Wake up, dummies!

One day you or one of your family members may get in trouble with the law and perhaps you will have enough money, or know someone in the DA's office to get the slap on the wrist like the two people in this article did. Chances are you won't, though. I assure everyone that reads this that some back room deal was done long before the court date ever came around. Politics will decide the fate of those without money to buy their way out their problem.

"Monkey" got lucky this time because someone owed someone a favor. Either that or something more sinister kept him from being made an example to others. We, as citizens, will never know the real truth! And I'm referring to more than just on this one case.

So many innocent people go to jail these days, lots of guilty people get the weakest sentence possible and very few really get what they deserve. That is the society we live in, and we have no one to blame but ourselves (actually it's our parents, grandparents and etc., but that is neither here or there, now). It could be worse, though. Remember that so hopefully it will help you tell yourself that what "Monkey" got is better than nothing. Perhaps next time he will kill a dog with the fumes from the meth and he will go to jail for a much longer time. And when Britney is in the house with him perhaps she will actually go to jail. Then again, that's wishful thinking, I guess. After all, justice will still have holes in it three years from now, won't it?

Accountability and day light is the only answer, but it takes more than ten people commenting on an article to get that. It starts by having a news media that does their job, unlike what we have in place at the present time. If the CEO's of this paper didn't need such enormous bonuses they could hire enough people to do the real job.

-- Posted by Wonderboy2269 on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 8:10 PM

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