Man Prosecutors Say Is Dangerous Gang Member Got Out On $133,000 With $5,000 Payment To Bondsman

Monday, January 9, 2017

A man prosecutors say is a dangerous gang member got out of jail recently by paying a bondsman $5,000 on a $133,000 bond, it was testified Monday.

Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman said the case of Taiwan Greathouse illustrates some of the problems with the Bail Reform Act.

Judge Steelman said the law sets a 10-percent maximum bond charge, but has no minimum. He said the fact that someone can get out of jail on a $133,000 bond for $5,000 illustrates the difficulty of judges being able to carry out one of their duties - to "protect the public."

On the other hand, he said there are a large number of lesser cases in which, perhaps, there should be "no bond at all."

Judge Steelman suggested that legislators consider possible changes to the Bail Reform Act.

He also noted that Greathouse earlier got a state-paid attorney, Rip Biggs. He said the state "hobbles around trying to pay for court-appointed attorneys, then defendants are able to come up with $5,000 in bond money."

Judge Steelman said there is not a great incentive for bonding officers to go after defendants since a law was passed that says they "are off the hook" however the defendant gets picked up. He said there does not have to be any involvement in the capture by the person who made the bond. 

Prosecutor Kevin Brown said Greathouse wound up only with a $13,500 bond from General Sessions Court despite being involved in a case in which he said he led police on a dangerous chase. He said a prosecutor in General Sessions Court agreed to the lower bond without getting the approval of higher-ups in the office.

Prosecutor Brown said the DA's office obtained a higher bond when the case got to the Grand Jury. He wound up with the $133,000 bond, but then prosecutors learned he had gotten out of jail.

Bondsman Kevin Tucker said various Greathouse family members called him for two months about making the high bond. He said he told the family that three bonding firms could go together and the total charge would be $5,000.

He said he controls both Kevin Tucker Bonding and All Out Bonding. Kevin Tucker Bonding took $43,000 of the bond at a fee of $1,400. He said he is still owed $300 of that amount. He said All Out Bonding (himself also) took $50,000 of the bond for $2,000. He said he called Dexter Higgins of Key Bonding and he agreed to take $40,000 of the bond for $1,600.

Bondsman Tucker said the four percent fee is not unusual. He said, "Some take less, and you have to go low to compete."

He said the $5,000 cash was brought to him at the jail by Brittany Bell, girlfriend of Greathouse.

Ms. Bell, who said Greathouse lives with her along with her two children, ages eight and five, and her sister, said some $2,300 of the amount came from a settlement she got from a car accident. She said she contributed a total of $3,000.

She said Greathouse's brother gave $1,100 and his mother contributed $500. She said several others gave smaller amounts.

Ms. Bell denied that Greathouse is a member of the Gangster Disciples gang.

Prosecutor Brown said he was "most concerned about the fact that a person is able to pay $5,000 to get a $133,000 bond."

Judge Steelman allowed Greathouse to remain free on bond, but said he cannot drive. He was driving on a revoked license at the time of his arrest.  

 

 

 


New Book Chattanooga In Old Photos Now Available At Zarzours

The new book Chattanooga in Old Photos, sponsored by Chattanoogan.com, is now available at Zarzours Restaurant on the Southside. John Wilson, Chattanoogan.com publisher and editor of the large-size, soft-bound book, will be at Zarzours on Thursday from 11:30 to 1:30 to sign copies of the book. The limited edition of 800 copies is printed by College Press of Collegedale. ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BARNES, ATHNEL EPHRIAM  8136 STILLWATER CIR OOLTEWAH, 37363  Age at Arrest: 57 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE --- BEAMON, RICKY LEE  201 EADS ST APT 124 EAST RIDGE, 37412  Age at Arrest: 27 years old Arresting ... (click for more)

Why Are Joda Thongnopnua And Phil Bredesen Downplaying Their Democratic Values?

For the past several months, the Democratic Party has reached a tipping point. “Their Resistance” is to oppose anything and everything Republicans are doing to deliver a stronger economy and better economic opportunities for all Americans.  Yet, I find it very interesting that the public outcry we are seeing from the Democrats on a national level is nowhere to be found when ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It’s ‘Tennessee Week’

For over 50 years I have heard the line, “There are two things you must never do on ‘The Third Saturday of October.’ You mustn’t ever marry and try not to die because, in either case, the preacher won’t show up.” He’ll be watching “The Game.” Ever since Oct 18, 1901, Tennessee and Alabama have been going at it and that inaugural game set the tone as well as the standard for all ... (click for more)

Prep Soccer Teams Prepare For Post-Season Runs

The girls soccer post-season is upon us and several local teams will be playing for a spot in the state tournament next week in Murfreesboro.  DIvision II teams will play first round state games at higher seeds.   In Division II-A, CCS earned the top seed in the East on Saturday with a 2-0 region championship win over CAK. That win gives them a bye this ... (click for more)

State Volleyball Begins Tuesday In Murfreesboro

Bids for state volleyball titles will begin for three Chattanooga teams on Tuesday. Baylor, Sale Creek and East Hamilton start the process with defending D-II-AA state champ Baylor facing Father Ryan in their first match at Blackman.   The match is set to begin at 12:30 (CST). East Hamilton will face Camden in its first match as these two will square off at 12:30 too ... (click for more)