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Suspect in stealing of collector knives faces June trial

BECKY CAMPBELL • Mar 7, 2007 at 6:00 AM

KINGSPORT - A Kingsport woman accused of stealing collector knives worth more than $300,000 from a local cutlery distributor nearly three years ago will go to trial in June.

Rhonda Frost, 41, worked for Taylor Cutlery in July 2004 when the knives were discovered missing. She was indicted in August 2005 on two counts of theft over $60,000.

The case has met several delays, including the retirement of the original judge, the recusal of two judges, and reappointment of the first one.

Judge Phyllis Miller was on the bench when Frost was charged, and the case was progressing with a few delays.

Assistant District Attorney General Lewis Combs said there were several resets in the case to see if it could be worked out with a plea prior to the judge situation.

After Miller retired, newly elected Judge Robert Montgomery recused himself because he was an assistant district attorney when Frost was charged, and the case was handed to Judge Bob Cupp from the First Judicial District.

But Cupp has apparently said he can't take any more cases in Sullivan County, and Miller was appointed to hear it.

Frost appeared before Miller Tuesday, and the judge set a June 12 trial date.

Stewart Taylor, who owns the cutlery warehouse, discovered his knives, which retail for $50, were being sold at area fire departments for $15 each.

Prosecutors said Taylor later discovered the man selling the knives was Donnie Frost, the husband of one of Taylor's employees.

Rhonda Frost told police that there are no official records kept in a procedure she said allowed employees of Taylor Cutlery to take knives from the warehouse, put a note in a bin when they take them, and pay for them later.

Rhonda Frost remains free on a $4,000 bond.

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