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Hawkins 911 director charged with assault

Jeff Bobo • Jan 29, 2007 at 11:12 AM

ROGERSVILLE - Hawkins County 911 Director Gay Murrell was served with an assault warrant Monday stemming from an altercation with her daughter that occurred Friday afternoon at their home.

According to a report filed by Hawkins County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Tony Allen, the incident occurred Friday about 2:35 p.m. at 623 Caney Creek Road north of Rogersville.

Allen stated in his report he was informed of the altercation and met with Murrell's daughter, Samantha Napier, 20, at her place of employment, Hawkins County Memorial Hospital, later that evening shortly after 6 p.m.

Napier told Allen she'd gone to the residence to retrieve some clothing, and an argument began between she and her mother.

"Samantha advised she was attempting to retrieve some clothing from a dresser drawer," Allen stated in his report. "At this time Gay Murrell grabbed her arms at the wrist area and pushed her away. Samantha advised she pulled her arms away from the grasp of Gay's hands.

"At this point she noticed she had scratch marks on her right upper wrist and on her left thumb area."

Allen stated in the report that Napier signed a non-prosecution form at the hospital Friday evening.

Allen interviewed Murrell Friday about 7:30 p.m. regarding the altercation.

"I advised her of the scratches on Samantha's wrist area," Allen stated in the report. "Gay advised when Samantha reached in to get her clothing from the drawer, Samantha jerked her hands out and scratched them on the frame of the dresser. Samantha then looked at her and said, ‘See what you have done to me. You are going to jail.' "

When there is a complaint of a domestic assault, and there are visible injuries that match the description of the alleged assault, state law says the preferable disposition is the arrest of the alleged offender.

Murrell was not charged with domestic assault, however.

According to Sheriff Roger Christian, that was the choice of Napier, who swore out an assault complaint on Monday. That type of complaint is often called a private prosecution.

Murrell was charged with misdemeanor assault, which is also known as simple assault.

Christian served Murrell with the simple assault warrant and summons at the Central Dispatch office in Rogersville Monday afternoon. Murrell is scheduled for arraignment in Hawkins County Sessions Court on Feb. 7.

Murrell told the Times-News Monday she is reserving comment about this incident at least until she has an opportunity to consult with her attorney, Herb Holcomb.

Christian said Monday that Deputy John Parsons initially responded to a 911 call to the Murrell residence Friday afternoon. The call was made by Napier shortly after the alleged assault.

Christian said he listened to part of a 911 tape from Friday afternoon.

In that tape Napier told the dispatcher she'd been "shoved" and "scratched" by her mother but she did not want to get her mother into trouble, according to Christian.

Christian added that no information about an alleged assault was relayed by the dispatcher to Parsons.

"All our deputy was told was that this was a property retrieval call, and he was asked to stand by while Ms. Napier went into the house and got some of her things," Christian said. "Our department wasn't made aware of any assault allegations until a third party contacted Sgt. Allen and told him. At that time Sgt. Allen interviewed Ms. Napier at her place of employment, and she confirmed the assault allegation."

The "third party" referred to by Christian was former Hawkins County deputy Stacey Vaughan, who is acquainted with Napier and some of her co-workers at the hospital. Friday evening Vaughan called Allen, his former supervisor, and notified Allen of the alleged assault.

Christian said he consulted with the attorney general's office Monday before serving Murrell with the warrant. He said there will be more investigation into the circumstances surrounding the allegations, as well as the conversations that Central Dispatch had with Napier and Parsons.

"This is an unusual case to say the least," Christian said. "I want to listen to more of this 911 tape. We've now got a statement from Ms. Napier saying she was assaulted, but she didn't want to prosecute after it happened, and I'm wondering if there's more to this than meets the eye.

"If the dispatcher had information that a domestic assault took place, I want to know why that information was not relayed to my deputy."

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