Horse shooting results in felony charge for Hawkins man

Jeff Bobo • Dec 11, 2019 at 9:25 AM

ROGERSVILLE — A Hawkins County man accused earlier this year of shooting a neighbor’s horse that he had confined in a corral after it came onto his property and did some damage has been charged with aggravated cruelty to livestock animals.

Howard Raymond Hughes, 80, 131 Cedar Valley Road, Rogersville, was arrested Friday on a sealed Hawkins County grand jury indictment warrant and released on $5,000 bond.

Aggravated cruelty to livestock animals is a Class E felony punishable by 1-2 years if convicted.

The indictment alleges that Hughes acted in a “depraved manor” by killing the Tennessee Walking Horse that belong to Rick and Debra South.

Originally a property damage complaint

According to a Hawkins County Sheriff's Office offense report, on Aug. 27 Hughes filed a property damage report with Deputy Wesley Seals claiming the Souths’ horse had done $750 in damage to five corral gates and another $25 worth of damage to about 30 feet of barbed wire fence.

Seals responded that morning to a report of a “wild stud” destroying property at the residence, and upon his arrival was told by Hughes that he put down the horse “due to the safety of himself and his property.”

Hughes stated that shortly after 7 a.m. he had received a call about one of his horses getting out, but when he went out he observed the “wild horse” didn't belong to him.

“Hughes stated he got the horse in his corral gate to leave there until he located the owner, but the horse then kicked and rammed into the gate, causing damage to five corral panels,” Seals stated in his report. “Hughes states that the horse was trying to kick him and kept trying to jump the corral. During the time of the investigation I did observe the deceased horse in the corral tied from his bridal to the corral gate.”

“Caused a slow death”

The Souths discovered their horse was missing around 6:30 a.m. and were out looking for the horse when it was shot.

“Mr. Hughes put my horse in a catch pen, tied him down and shot him in a manner that caused a slow death,” Debra South told the Times News on Tuesday.

She added, “My horse was named Call Me Liberty. He was a registered, gaited, Tennessee Walker stallion. I trained him since he was a colt, he was 12 years old. He was not only just a horse, he was my baby. He watched over the goats as a guardian. He protected them from the bears, bobcats, coyotes and other things that live in the mountains. He was a playmate with my dog. They would chase and play for hours. He was my therapy horse after my hip gave out and my multiple surgeries. I was so looking forward to being able to ride again.”

The prosecuting officer was Third Judicial District Attorney General’s investigator Teddy Collingsworth.

Hughes is schedule for arraignment Friday in Hawkins County Criminal Court.

Bail bond employee indicted

Kimberly Jo Rines, 43, 141 Seals Road, Rogersville, was named in a Dec. 2 sealed indictment charging her with two counts of delivery of meth and maintaining a dwelling where narcotics are kept or sold.

Rines, who is employed by Small Town Bonding in Rogersville, was in the Hawkins County Criminal Courtroom on Monday as part of her job when she was arrested and served with the sealed indictment warrant. 

She is accused of making the meth transactions on March 13 and May 1. The Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation with assistance from the Third Judicial District Drug Task Force and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. 

Delivery of meth is a Class B felony punishable by 8-12 years if convicted.

Rines was released from the Hawkins County Jail on bond and is scheduled for arraignment Friday in Criminal Court.

Another charge for Marshall

Jason Lee Marshall, accused of robbing former Hawkins County Mayor and Attorney General Heiskell Winstead and his wife, Barbara, in their home at gunpoint on Aug. 20, 2017, has been additionally indicted on one count of carjacking, a Class B felony.

Marshall, 33, of Morristown, was indicted on Dec. 2 for  aggravated robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. 

The carjacking charge was added as a sealed indictment. He is accused of taking a vehicle from Barbara Winstead by force or intimidation during the robbery. He remains in jail pending arraignment Friday in Criminal Court.






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