By MIKE WEST, Courier Editor
Cannon County Grand Jury returned a first-degree murder indictment Thursday, Jan. 29 on a Readyville woman accused of killing her mother.
April Stowe, 40, remains in the Cannon County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bond. Her arraignment is set for Feb. 5 and plea day on March 5. She is being represented by attorney Josh Crain.
Stowe was arrested by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation following the discovery of her mother's body on June 23, along a rural road in Millersville. The victim was identified as Valerie Jean McFadden, 61, of Pascal Road in Readyville.
McFadden's body was found by Millersville Fire Chief Thomas King in a ditch on rural Woody Lane. Millersville is located northwest of Cannon County along Interstate 65 at the corner of Robertson and Sumner counties. The community's population is approximately 5,308.
In cooperation with the Millersville Police Department, and with the assistance of the Cannon County Sheriff's Department, TBI special agents began investigating the death of McFadden with officers developing information leading to her daughter.
Authorities believe the crime occurred at a residence shared by the mother and daughter in Readyville, after which Stowe disposed of McFadden's body.
In other auction, the Grand Jury returned felony indictments against John Daniel McPeak on five counts of the sale of marijuana. McPeak's bond was set at $75,000.
In another case, a Hurricane Creek Road resident was indicted on multiple marijuana related charges. A Hurricane Creek Road resident faces manufacture of marijuana, possess and several other drug-related charges following a bust by the Cannon County Sheriff's Department.
William Ray Hale was also charged with possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a dwelling for the use, storage, or sale of controlled substances. A total of 67 pot plants and about 15 to 20 pounds of processed marijuana were confiscated.
Hale "said he had been growing marijuana four years and that he had been caught three times over the years," said Investigator Brandon Gullett.
The arrest followed an anonymous call to Gullett, who notified the helicopter-equipped Governor's Marijuana Eradication Task Force.
Gullett, along with Sheriff Darrell Young, Investigator Anthony Young and Deputy Doc Smith, set up nearby Hale's property.
"I was then notified by (the) helicopter pilot who stated that the marijuana plants were confirmed at 4826 Hurricane Creek Road," Gullett said.
Additional plants were discovered at the top of a hollow. Inside a barn on the property, four pot plants were discovered drying.
According state officials, a fully grown marijuana plant can produce around a pound of marijuana. At street value, the marijuana is worth around $1,000.
Tony R. Bain was indicted on several charges by the Grand Jury including burglary and theft over $1,000. Additional charges include possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia and driving on a suspended license.
Larry V. Davis was indicted for theft of property, burglary, theft over $1,000 and public intoxication.
Indictments were handed down against David Peeler on DUI, possession of Schedule II and possession of Schedule IV drugs.
Sherry S. Stephens was indicted on two separate DUI charges.
Michael A. Murphy was indicted for possession of a Schedule IV drug with intent.
Randal A. Nowlin faces a theft of property indictment.
Mildred N. Smith was indicted for driving on a suspended license.
Andrew Asbury was indicted for tampering with evidence and simple possession of Schedule II drugs.
All of these suspects face arraignment on Feb. 5 in Circuit Court with a plea date set for March 5.