Animal Cruelty Case Bound Over To Grand Jury
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The two defendants at the center of a huge animal cruelty case have now moved on to a higher court.

Charles Eugene and Charles Clint Howland appeared before General Sessions Court Judge Susan Melton Tuesday and bound their cases over to the next term of the Cannon County Grand Jury.

The two appeared with their attorney and told Judge Melton that they did not want a preliminary hearing and bound the matter over without her determining if there was probable cause to send the case to Circuit Court.

The Howlands were arrested late last year following an investigation by the Cannon County Sheriff’s Department which revealed a large number of dead and dying horses and other animals on their Woodland farm.

The two were charged with animal cruelty and have been free on bond since being taken into custody. The case gained national media attention and also drew in numerous animal advocates to take care of the surviving horses.

The Grand Jury will meet on September 24th and, if indicted, the two will appear before a Circuit Court Judge in October. From there they will either enter pleas or have a jury trial.

In other business before the Court Tuesday:

• Thomas Matthew Kestner pled guilty under judicial diversion to the charge of simple possession of Marijuana. He was placed on supervised probation for 11 months, 29 days, ordered to pay a $250.00 fine and ordered to pay the court costs.

• Clarissa Hernandez pled guilty under judicial diversion to the charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. She was placed on supervised probation for 11 months, 29 days, ordered to pay a $150.00 fine and ordered to pay the court costs.

• Dustin Lee Alsup pled guilty to the charge of violation of probation. His probation was extended and he was ordered to pay the court costs.

• Kimberly Couch pled guilty to the charge of driving under the influence. She was sentenced to 11 months, 29 days in the county jail. That sentence was suspended upon an equal amount of time on probation, serving 7 days in jail, paying a $350.00 fine and paying the court costs. In addition, she will lose her driver’s license for 1 year.

• Kristen M. Sawyer pled guilty to the charge of underage driving while impaired. She lost her driver’s license for 1 year, was ordered to pay the court costs and was required to perform 60 hours of public service work. She was also placed on probation.

• Melissa Joy Brown pled guilty to the charge of simple possession of schedule drugs. She was sentenced to 11 months, 29 days in jail. That sentence was partially suspended upon an equal amount of time on probation, serving 30 days in jail, paying the court costs and paying a $250.00 fine. In another case, Brown pled guilty to the charge of theft under $500.00. She was sentenced to 11 months, 29 days in jail. That sentence was suspended upon an equal amount of time on probation, paying restitution and paying the court costs. Brown also pled guilty to violation of probation. Her probation was extended and she was ordered to serve 30 days in jail.

• Demean Allen Jones pled guilty to the charge of violation of probation. His probation was revoked and he was ordered to serve his entire sentence.

• John Richard Reeves pled guilty to the charge of violation of probation. His probation was extended and he was ordered to serve 60 days in jail.

• Jeffrey Lee Underwood pled guilty to the charge of violation of probation. His probation was extended and he was ordered to pay the court costs.

• Raul Aguilar Villarreal pled guilty to the charge of driving while license revoked. He was sentenced to 6 months in the county jail. That sentence was suspended upon an equal amount of time on probation, paying a $50.00 fine and paying the court costs.
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