Seymour Man, 22, Facing Lengthy Prison Term For Robberies, Selling Drugs On UT Campus, Deadly Car Wreck

Monday, May 20, 2013

A 22-year-old man who sold drugs while armed with a revolver on the UT campus after the Florida football game and who was involved in numerous armed robberies and a deadly car wreck is facing at least 82 years in federal prison.

Following a three-day trial in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, a jury convicted Tyler James Schaeffer of Seymour, Tn., of three counts of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to three robberies of businesses engaged in interstate commerce (Hobbs Act robbery) and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a methylone trafficking conspiracy.

Schaeffer’s sentencing is set for 10 a.m. on Oct. 9 in U.S. District Court in Knoxville. He faces up to life on the firearms convictions, and up to an additional 160 years in prison on the robbery and drug trafficking convictions. There is no parole in the federal system. 

The latest convictions stem from a series of armed robberies in Knox, Sevier and Blount counties between July 26, 2010 and Sept. 14, 2012. Schaeffer previously pleaded guilty to all of the robberies, a total of seven, as well as the methylone trafficking conspiracy. Those pleas were accepted by the Thomas A. Varlan, chief U.S. District Judge, on April 30. Chief Judge Varlan also presided over Schaeffer’s trial.

Schaeffer brandished a knife in at least two of the robberies, and firearms in four of the robberies. Based on the proof available at the time of trial, the United States pursued firearms charges in connection with three of the seven robberies, as well as the methylone trafficking conspiracy. The jury convicted Schaeffer of each of those four firearms-related counts.

Jerel Bray-Sean Johnson, 20, of Knoxville, and Rodney James Ruffin, 22, of Sevierville, previously pleaded guilty to related robbery, drug trafficking and firearms charges, and did not go to trial with Schaeffer.

According to evidence presented at trial, Schaeffer brandished handguns when he robbed local stores, restaurants, and drug traffickers, including a revolver he obtained on the black market. Evidence detailed how Schaeffer obtained the black market revolver; how he used it in connection with two robberies and a methylone conspiracy; and ultimately, how the revolver was discarded in a south Knoxville storm drain days after an automobile collision involving Schaeffer on September 16, 2012. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Knoxville Police Department (KPD) recovered the firearm on April 9, just over a month before trial was to commence.

The evidence also included testimony about Schaeffer’s trafficking of methylone on the University of Tennessee  campus following the UT/Florida football game on Sept. 15, 2012, while armed with the revolver. Methylone, a Schedule I controlled substance, is a “party” drug sometimes referred to as “Molly.” Schaeffer took the stand and testified that he used “fake” guns in the robberies and denied ever using the revolver recovered from the storm drain. The jury deliberated for about two hours before it rejected his testimony.

Law enforcement agencies participating in the joint investigation which led to indictment and subsequent conviction of Tyler James Schaeffer included the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, KPD, Office of District Attorney General James B. Dunn, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, Sevierville Police Department, Blount County Sheriff’s Office, and Alcoa Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelly A. Norris and Tracy L. Stone represented the United States at trial.

Following sentencing on Oct. 9, Schaeffer will be returned to Sevier County authorities to stand trial for a deadly automobile collision which occurred on Sept. 16, 2012, as well as a burglary charge.

Bradley County Sheriff's Office Seeks Identity Of Men Who Passed Counterfeit Money

The Bradley County Sheriff's Office and Charleston Police Department are asking for the public's assistance with identifying two men who passed counterfeit money at a local business. On Thursday, between 10:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., two men entered a Dollar General store in Charleston and handed eight counterfeit $100 bills and purchased two prepaid credit cards. Investigators ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALLEN, DEBORAH GEAN  3112 DODSON AVE CHATTANOOGA, 374061834  Age at Arrest: 66 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga ASSAULT RESISTING ARREST OR OBSTRUCTION OF LEGAL PROCESS --- BREWSTER, TIMOTHY RAY  1069 SNYDER LOOP GRAYSVILLE, 37338  Age at Arrest: 35 years old Arresting ... (click for more)

Life For Our Ancestors In 1890

May 26-27 is the 1890’s Day Jamboree in Ringgold. I encourage any reader to attend and enjoy that wonderful community. I love having grown up in Northwest Georgia and celebrating our veterans, including both of my grandfathers who served in WWII.  But I also want to describe how the 1890’s were for my ancestors, living here in a singularly turbulent time. Based on, among ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Governor Haslam, Please!

AN OPEN LETTER TO GOV. BILL HASLAM … Greetings to you, my friend. You know with one more year on the course we have sailed during your two terms as the leader of our state you will go down as one of the greatest governors we have ever had. It stands to reason you eye Lamar Alexander’s Senate seat, but whatever you do it will be hard to replicate your service to Tennessee and ... (click for more)

Henry County Eliminates Ooltewah 3-1 In Class 3A State Softball

(Story will be updated) MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Dashed hopes. Again. Ooltewah came up short again in the TSSAA Class 3A state softball tournament Thursday, dropping a 3-1 decision to Henry County that sent the Lady Owls home for the second time in three years. The Lady Owls finished third in 2015 and missed the 2016 tourney after losing to Stewarts Creek in the sectional ... (click for more)

Baylor Gets Offensive In Softball Win Over St. Benedict

MURFREESBORO – The two-time Division II defending state softball champion Baylor looks ready to challenge for another title. The Lady Red Raiders spotted St. Benedict an unearned run in the first inning, but came back strong to prevail by a 12-1 final in six innings. Wednesday’s win, Baylor’s 25 th against three losses, sets up a winners bracket final with arch-rival GPS, ... (click for more)