Man Who Killed 5-Year-Old Son At Patten Towers In 2003 Gets 15-Year Sentence

Monday, September 17, 2012

A man who told officers about beating, choking and drowning his five-year-old son at his Patten Towers apartment in 2003 on Monday morning pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Dedrick Lamont Atkins, who was 26 at the time of the incident, was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Prosecutor Neal Pinkston said Atkins has remained in custody since the incident, mainly at the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute. He said it was only in 2011 that he was ruled competent to stand trial.

Atkins told Criminal Court Judge Don Poole that he has been "hearing voices" since he was a child.

Judge Poole stressed that he should stay on his medicines "so you do not harm yourself or others."

Atkins had been charged with first-degree murder.  

He will be given credit for the time he was held in psychiatric facilities.

Atkins was charged in the death of five-year-old Dedric Johnson. The child was found lifeless in his father's third-floor apartment after his father reported him dead to the lobby security guard, who in turn called police and paramedics.

Atkins, who has a lengthy criminal record, was interviewed for several hours afterward at the Police Service Center by both child abuse and homicide detectives.  

Police said the child died from extreme blunt and physical trauma.

This was five-year-old Dedric's first visitation with his estranged father, it was stated.

Police said Atkins refused to give a statement to officers, but that he "made spontaneous statements to EMS personnel about killing the child. He gave details how he beat, choked and drowned the victim."

It said an examination of the child showed trauma about the head, ligature marks around the neck, and that his clothes were wet.

In 2004, a $1 million lawsuit was filed in the death of the child brought by Sherry Johnson, mother of the young victim.

It was filed against Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute, Dr. Doloroso B Yap, Patten Towers LP II, Yarco Company and Walden Security.

The suit says the child was killed "by his mentally ill father." It says the father had been released by Moccasin Bend on Sept. 19, though a few days earlier he was deemed too dangerous to be released.

The complaint was also brought against Patten Towers, claiming inadequate security.


Upcoming City Council Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the upcoming City Council agenda for Tuesday: I. Call to Order. II. Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Vice-Chairman Freeman). III. Minute Approval. IV. Special Presentation. V. Ordinances – Final Reading: ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT a. An ordinance amending Chattanooga City Code, Part II, Chapter 11, by the addition of a new Article ... (click for more)

Fort Oglethorpe Arrest Report For Feb. 5-11

Here is the Fort Oglethorpe arrest report for Feb. 5-11: Jerry Dewom Daniel, 23, of 7735 Farmwood Lane, Harrison was arrested February 5 for theft by shoplifting. Melissa Renee Carson, 38, of 27 Templin Hills Lane, Ringgold was arrested February 5 for driving while license suspended/revoked. William Terrell Holloway, 57, of 207 W. Peachtree Street, Rossville was arrested ... (click for more)

Black History Month Hero - Theodore McGraw (Kidd) AKA "Pongee"

I grew up in "Old St. Elmo" on 39th Street behind the Incline. As a child I remember my older brother "Pongee" as being my hero. This month of February being Black History Month, I cannot think of a better person to be honored than my late older brother, Theodore McGraw (Kidd) aka "Pongee" of St. Elmo (Gamble Town). Growing up without my father, Theodore was always available ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Chatt2.org’ Needs You Now

A diverse yet powerful panel of community leaders in Nashville delivered a letter to the Metro Nashville Board of Education last week. It was signed by some top men and women who represent a wide-ranking cross section of Tennessee’s largest city and includes education, business, religious and diversity superstars. You need to understand the urgency behind the letter. Davidson County ... (click for more)

Near-Perfect Red Bank Leads Region 2-A/AA Wrestling

High school wrestling coaches are always looking for perfection and Red Bank's Shane Turner almost got it Friday night in the opening day of the Region 2-A/AA tournament at Hixson Middle School. The Lions advanced all 14 of their wrestlers to Saturday morning's championship semifinal round and lead the 14-team field with 52 points. Hixson advanced 10 to the semis and hold ... (click for more)

Clemons, Lynn Named Miss Basketball Finalists

Baylor's Kaleigh Clemons and McMinn Central's Jacobi Lynn were named finalist for Ms. Basketball on Saturday. There were no local nominees for Mr. Basketball from the Chattanooga area. The awards will be presented to the top girls and boys in five classifications of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association on the floor of Murphy Center on the campus of MTSU on Tuesday, ... (click for more)