Murder Charges Dropped Against Ragland In Timothy Bumpass Murder

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Murder charges were dismissed on Tuesday morning against Devante Lavon Ragland, 19, who was arrested a week ago in connection with the murder of 37-year-old Timothy Bumpass.

Defense attorney Rich Heinsman said Ragland had no prior criminal record. He said the state apparently had some witness problems in the case.

The dismissal was "without prejudice" meaning that the charge could be refiled.

Murder charges were bound to the Grand Jury on Friday against two others - Kristopher Bell and Christopher Jennings - charged in the Jan. 12 killing at 4800 Swan Road.

Ragland had been charged with felony murder, especially aggravated robbery, and criminal conspiracy.

Attorney Heinsman said there are no holds on him and he would be released after the dismissal in General Sessions Court.

At the hearing on Friday, Brandon Bell and his 14-year-old brother were reluctant witnesses against Kristopher Bell and Jennings.

There was testimony that Bumpass was a drug dealer. Detective James Plumley said a black bag containing a substantial amount of marijuana was found in the trunk of the victim's 2002 Cadillac.

Brandon Bell said on the night of the murder  his brother called while using Jennings' cellphone asking for the number of "Hollywood." He said he looked on his brother's cellphone that was in the bedroom they share and found the number.

The younger brother, who was 13 at the time of the incident, said when he got home about 9:45 p.m. he found Kris Bell, Jennings and Ragland all at the house. He said he spotted a revolver in a clothes hamper.

He said another time that night he saw Ragland walking with Jennings behind him.

The younger brother said "Hollywood" at times would come over for visits.

Demetrice Williams, girlfriend of Bumpass, said he was friends was Kris Bell. She said they were watching a football game that night when he got a text message from Bell saying he had carried out a $14,000 robbery and needed to buy $1,300 in marijuana.

She said , "We didn't think that sounded like Kris Bell. We kind of laughed about that."

The witness said she dozed off, then awakened at midnight and saw that Bumpass had not been to bed. She said she tried to text him, but got no answer. She said she wrote, "I just woke up, baby. I'm really scared."

Ms. Williams said the fact that Bell is among those charged "was really a shock. They had done a lot together."

Kyle Rodriguez said he was driving by Lakeside Youth Sports Park around 10 p.m. when he saw a male dragging a body away from a Cadillac. He said a second male was nearby.

Detective Plumley said the victim's body was found in nearby woods. He said some of his clothes had been pulled off and they were found along a trail to British Wood Apartments, where the Bells live.

He said the victim had been shot 4-5 times, including once in the right eye.

The driver's side window was shattered and there was blood on the driver's seat and door. His empty wallet was in the glove compartment. His jewelry and cellphone were missing.


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BRAMLETT, VERNETTA LAURETT  804 LANE ST CHATTANOOGA, 37404  Age at Arrest: 41 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DRIVING ON REVOKED, SUSPENDED OR CANCELLED LICENSE POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA LIGHT LAW VIOLATION --- BUTLER, TABITHA KAREN  165 VERO BEACH AVE ROSSVILLE, 30741  ... (click for more)

Dalton Police Warn Residents To Secure Vehicles After Rash Of Burglaries

There has been an increase in the number of entering auto cases in Dalton in the past few weeks, and in each case, it appears that the vehicles were left unlocked. Officials with the Dalton Police Department are reminding residents to keep their cars locked even if they’re only making a quick stop. Also, people are advised to never leave valuables in plain view in cars. Between ... (click for more)

Thankful For The Vital Role Teachers Played In My Life

Re: Roy Exum: Teachers Day Tomorrow Roy, I am especially appreciative of your poignant column written in tribute to teachers.  It made me tear up, as I have encountered both as a student and a career educator-- teachers like the second-grade teacher who said, "I wish you were my little girl" and teachers like Mrs. Poindexter.   My teachers have played such a vital ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The DA’s Cold-Case Quest

It is clearly a job nobody can do for over an hour or two, but Neal Pinkston, working in hand with precise professionals from the county’s auditing department, is intent on doing the right thing. As I watched a revolving team of four people at a time open and study envelopes of autopsy photographs on Tuesday, the scene would have made a fascinating television documentary. But ... (click for more)

Hurricanes Whip McMinn County, 9-1, In 5-3A Baseball

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Three times Jordan Gorman set the table. Nick Woods punched three hits to the outfield and drove Gorman home in the third, fifth and sixth innings, powering East Hamilton to a 9-1 victory over McMinn County in the opening game of the District 5-3A baseball tournament at Cleveland High School on Wednesday. “Our mission was to win this game,” Gorman said, ... (click for more)

District 5-3A Softball Tournament Plans Finalized By Coaches

District 5-3A softball coaches are now ready for the second season. They hope their teams are, too. At a luncheon to finalize plans for the district tournament on Wednesday, the opening pairings were set in stone and play will begin Friday with three games, each starting at 5 p.m. at the highest seeded team. Second-seeded Soddy-Daisy (24-7) will host No. 7 Bradley ... (click for more)