JACKSBORO, TN. (WLAF)- The three men charged with assaulting an inmate while he was in custody have their fates intertwined.
When the Eighth Judicial District Criminal Court convened via Zoom on Monday, prosecutors said Justin Crabtree would not be receiving an offer to resolve his case.
“We have not made an offer. We don’t intend to make an offer,” said Matthew McClung, of the Claiborne County district attorney’s office. This announcement was made the second time the case was called. During the first call, when Crabtree’s attorney was having difficulties connecting to Zoom, McClung had told the court the state’s intention was to try Crabtree first, then seek a resolution with his co-defendants, Dakota Williams and Sean Brown.
A trial date could be several months into the future. Already crowded dockets combined with COVID-19 delays has meant no trials have occurred since March. In terms of scheduling, Crabtree would be planned after the people currently jailed are tried.
A Campbell County Grand Jury previously indicted the 24-year-old Crabtree for aggravated assault and official oppression. Crabtree, a deputy with the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office, was accused of assaulting Nathan Patrick Thomas Ling in June 2019. He is also accused of using excessive force on Ling, a Michigan resident, according to court records. Crabtree was the only person the Eighth Judicial District Attorney’s Office was seeking to indict.
However, after reviewing the evidence, the grand jury returned a presentment on two other deputies. A presentment holds the same weight as an indictment but is acted on by the grand jury itself.
Deputies Williams, 23, and Brown, 20, were indicted for official misconduct, official oppression and assault, according to court records.
Grand juries have the purview to indict people not presented by the district attorney’s office as one of its functions under state law.
Crabtree was fired during the course of the investigation while Brown’s association with the department had ended prior to the allegations surfacing, Goins said. Williams is currently on unpaid leave.
The night Ling was arrested, he was charged with assault on an officer, resisting arrest and evading arrest, according to jail records. Those charges have since been dropped, according to Sal Varsalona, Crabtree’s attorney.
The court set the companion cases of Williams and Brown for an Aug. 24 review. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED- 07/15/2020-6AM)