Local Weather February 18, 2010 8 145th YEAR - NO. 41 SERVING CHESTER COUNTY SINCE 1865 75 CENTS Freeland admits involvement in Ward murder See page 5-A J o h n Thomas Freeland, Jr. appeared b e f o r e Judge Roy Morgan in a Jackson cour troom FREELAND Tu e s d a y and was expected to plead guilty to his involvement in the murder of Carolyn Ward of Henderson. However, Freeland disputed one key fact in the case – who actually fired the fatal shot. Ward was found dead on Dry Creek Lane on March 7, 2009 after she allegedly was abducted from Fred’s Discount Store around 2 p.m. that afternoon. Ward’s car was found burned in south Madison County near Beech Bluff. Evidence in the case has linked three suspects, Freeland, Tashundra Mosley, and Marcus Thompson, to the homicide and all possess previous criminal records involving, among other charges, aggravated assault, forgery, theft, and possession of drug paraphernalia, plus various driving charges. In court Tuesday, assistant District Attorney Jody Pickens read a narrative of the alleged incident in which Freeland is alleged to have shot Ward in the head. “The statement is pretty factual, but the part about me actually killing her is not,” stated Freeland. His attorney asked for and was granted an extension in time allotting for making a plea because she had not had sufficient time to examine certain evidence she claimed to have received Feb. 12. Morgan scheduled the next appearance for 8:30 a.m. Feb. 24. The trial is scheduled for March 23 in a Chester County courtroom. Freeland did, however, plead guilty to a charge of aggravated robbery and was sentenced to 12 years in the Tennessee Department of Corrections. Suspect found in hit-and-run Board opts to table vote on Hamlett closure fatality The suspect responsible for the death of a hit and run victim was arrested by authorities Saturday in Jackson after he was seen trying to replace his windshield. Jesse K. Greene, 30, of Humboldt, was charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving a fatality, after he conSee GREENE, Page 3-A GREENE Babies of 2009 deadline this Friday Are you a proud parent of a baby born in 2009? If so, be sure to feature your bundle of joy on our Babies of 2009 arrival page that will run in next week’s Independent edition. Photos and information should be submitted to our offices no later than Feb. 19 (this Friday) by 5 p.m. Please note professional copyrighted photos cannot be accepted without proper release from the photographer. For additional information, see Page 9-A. Former politician, barber dies A former city and c o u n t y politician has died after suffering a brief illness. J e s s e PATTERSON F a y Patterson, 72, of Henderson, died Feb. 13, 2010, at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital. Funeral services were held Feb. 16 at Shackelford Funeral Directors of Henderson – Johnson Chapel. Burial followed at Chester County Memory Gardens. Patterson served as a County Commissioner and City Alderman and was a barber for over 30 years, operating Patterson Barber Shop. He also managed East Gate Apartments for 10 years. See complete obituary Page 8A. Sends to planning commission for further review By Julie Pickard FHU President Dr. Joe Wiley and Dwayne Wilson, executive vice president, listen to concerns from Heritage Towers residents concenering permanently closing two city streets at Thursday night’s city board meeting. As advised by the city attorney, the board opted to table the request until the Planning Commission can review the matter further. Staff Writer Freed-Hardeman University president Dr. Joe Wiley admitted during last Thursday night’s city board meeting the university leaders “may not have done a good enough job explaining to the community” why they are seeking to close two city streets that run through their campus. “I considered it a relatively benign request,” said Wiley before the board. “Given the fact Hamlett is not really a through street, it’s about two blocks long and is surrounded by university, and by university activities. It didn’t dawn on me that it was that critical of an artery for individuals in the community.” Attorney Teresa Luna, filling in for city attorney Jerry Spore, said the city of Henderson was not legally allowed to sell Hamlett and University Streets to Freed-Hardeman. “This is not an unusual issue, a lot of cities that have big universities and hospitals that are expanding in the middle of city…it is totally a legal issue,” she said. Luna explained according to Tennessee state law, the streets are not owned by an individual city. The city of Henderson has a right of way or easement up to that street, for the public good. Legally, the city of Henderson has an obligation to make the determination whether abandoning the street meets the needs of the citizens through the planning commission. See HAMLETT, Page 3-A Photos by Julie Pickard, Independent Heritage Towers resident and taxpayer Ann Newman said at Thursday night’s meeting she was a Freed-Hardeman supporter, but not a supporter of the decision to close Hamlett Ave. Newman cited her main concern is safety and said making the turn from Hamlett onto Mill Street creates a dangerous environment for not only residents but also FHU students. Newman also noted closing Hamlett Ave. would cause major congestion for the entire area. Auction items pouring in for Local authorities seek help in Perkins Dinner and Auction search for sexual assault suspect New auction items are coming in every day for the Eleventh Annual Dinner and Auction, sponsored by the Carl Perkins Center. “I can’t wait for the mailman to walk in every morning to see what new things he has for me,” said event organizer Janeane Moore. “On the 11th, I received an autographed picture of Matthew McConaughey. That made my day!” To date, Moore has received a 90th anniversary edition Green Bay Packers football, autographed by the team; an autographed Larry Csonka picture; a sky suite for 20 from the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx; a Jackson Day Spa package including a full-day spa experience with products; photography packages from White Design and Bickerstaff Photography; season tickets to the University of Memphis football games; Redbirds tickets; a tour of Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana; an autographed Peyton Manning photo; an autographed picture of Troy Palamalu; car detailing from Quality Bodyworks; tickets to Ruby Falls, the Frist Center and the Memphis Zoo; a will package from John Talbott; four Corporate seats for “Chicago” at the Orpheum in Memphis; jewelry; home décor; a children’s bookcase with books, and more. “Since this year’s theme is ‘Team Up Against Child Abuse,’ I am focusing on getting new sports memorabilia,” Moore said. “I have made requests to the Dallas Cowboys, Brett Favre, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Drew Brees, the Boston Celtics, the Los Angeles Lakers, Hendrick Motorsports, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and lots, lots more. I am hopeful that they will respond positively. Our auction is always See AUCTION, Page 3-A The Chester County Sheriff’s Department has released a sketch of a suspect believed involved in a sexual assault Feb. 1 near Milledgeville. According to the victim, the assailant is taller than 5’7” and weighed from 180-200 pounds. He had sandy blond hair, was very dirty, and driving an older model black truck. If you have information on this suspect, call the Chester County Sheriff’s Department at 989-2787.