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Monday, September 5, 2016

Morning in court then evening council meeting for Kerley and Souza on Thursday

UPDATE: The case has been continued by agreement until October 6 according to the court clerk's office.  This often happens on a first appearance as lawyers need additional time to put their cases together.  We will keep you informed.  

It will be a busy Thursday for at least two members of the Crossville city council with a court date in the morning and the September council meeting in the evening.

The first court appearance in the case of assault charges filed against councilman Jesse Kerley is set for 8:30 AM in General Session court before Judge Larry Warner. The charge stems from an incident June 2, 2016 immediately following a council work session.

Kerley booking photo

The summons affidavit signed by councilman Pete Souza, the alleged victim of the assault states, “Mr. Souza was attending a meeting at city hall. After the meeting Mr. Kerley confronted Mr. Souza. During that time, Mr. Souza got hit in the shoulder and the chest. Mr. Kerley did intentionally or knowingly cause Mr. Souza to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury. Said offense occurred in Cumberland Co. Tennessee.”

Affidavit from Kerley summons

A video that shows the incident was released from a city hall security camera the day following the incident after copies were acquired by Mr. Kerley and interim city manager Steve Hill.  The video shows that Mr. Kerley and his father, city water resources manager Jerry Kerley appeared to wait for Mr. Souza after the meeting and sandwiched him between the doorway on his way out.  

The incident was described in an incident report filed by then police chief Rod Shoap:
"Jerry Kerley stated to me that as he exited the building, words were spoken between him and Councilman Souza. Councilman Kerley stated that Councilman Souza turned to Jerry Kerley and began raising his voice. At that point Councilman Kerley approached Councilman Souza and the altercation occurred.

Councilman Souza said that he was leaving the building, going through the door as Jerry Kerley said something to him. Councilman Souza turned to hear Jerry Kerley mention the painting of signs at which point he was trying to make a point about the signs when Councilman Kerley interrupted and the altercation took place."

Slow motion video of the incident at the door of city hall involving
councilmen Kerley and Souza.

Kerley is reportedly represented by Crossville attorney Kevin Bryant and according to Mr. Souza the district attorney's office is prosecuting the case. The charge is a class A misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 11 months and 29 days in jail and/or a fine of $2500.

There could be a hearing on the case that day, a decision, a plea agreement or the matter could be continued out to a future date.

A preview of the city council meeting was published previously.
Information on the city council meeting is here.  

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