Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Sheffield/Questions about Sex Trafficking Case

Yes, we’ve heard it all before: Shoals area officials say (fill in the blank) will be the economic salvation of the area. Yet for the past 40 years, whether it be TVA’s Yellow Creek or a DreamVision scam, nothing major has ever prospered in the area, if it even arrived in the first place.

Now that could change. Big things are reportedly happening in Sheffield. Yes, Sheffield. Is it too good to be true? We hope not. If proposed plans come to fruition, Sheffield could indeed become the real center of the Quad-Cities. If you’re a praying person, now’s the time to do it.


Has there ever been a human trafficking case in the Shoals? If there has been one before Florence residents Chip Dillard and Tim Staggs were charged last month, we can’t recall it. Obviously the nature of the case and the high profile of one of the arrestees have created much interest in the proceedings. It’s also provided fodder for the rumor mill which has been in overdrive since the announcements of the indictments and arrests. So what’s true and what isn’t?

* Some of the female victims were underage? False. The current ages of the victims range from 21 to 31.

* Tim Staggs is a licensed bail bondsman? False. There’s no record of Staggs being licensed to act as a bondsman. In other words, he provided cash to bond the victims out from both Lauderdale and Colbert County correctional facilities. As to who came up with this lovely scheme, we don’t know.

* Dillard, Staggs, and co-defendant Brett Mitchell will undoubtedly be found guilty? False. While we hear the Lauderdale DA’s office says the case against Dillard and Staggs is a slam-dunk, a local judge has commented that the evidence against Mitchell won’t hold up in court. We can probably expect a plea on some sort of misdemeanor in that case.

* Staggs, if convicted, will get probation due to his age? False. It’s true that Staggs will be 84 in two weeks; however, the severity of his crime mandates a prison sentence. The state prison system has room in the Hamilton Aged and Infirm unit for at least one more, and the Attorney General’s office will fight any request for probation.

* Dillard threatened one witness with “assault or murder?” True. At least that is the wording in the indictment against the Florence attorney. He’s not accused of some oblique statement that it wouldn’t be in her best interest to testify, but in actually threatening at least bodily harm if not worse if she provided a statement to the grand jury.

* There will be more indictments in the case? Making an educated guess, that statement is true.


Don’t forget the Lauderdale Rabies Clinic continues through Saturday. Click on the ad in our sidebar for dates and times.

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