Trial date set for Douglas and Smith

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By Susan Sharp

After the pair plead not guilty to the felony charges, Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton asked the attorneys if they wanted time to discuss the case or did it need to be set for trial.

“Set it,” Douglas’ attorney Michael Hatmaker quickly said. When a March trial date was suggested this received a veto from Hatmaker.

“No, your honor, this will involve a lot of discovery,” he said. Senior Assistant District Attorney Mike Ripley then suggested June 16, which was met with approval.

Because Smith and Douglas are in jail, Sexton said their case would “be given priority over anything else.”

David Pollard, Douglas’ attorney, introduced the idea of a bail reduction at that point.

Assistant District Attorney Scarlet Ellis said she had not seen a bail reduction motion and wasn’t ready to argue against one.

Sexton said he would hear both sides of the case on Feb. 1. The current bail is set at $250,000 each.

Testimony at the preliminary hearing revealed that the burns, bruises and broken arm Peyton Douglas suffered from were allegedly inflicted on him at a Caryville home he shared with his mother.

In mid- June she fled town, returning to Fort Campbell with Smith, an active duty solider, in an attempt to hide the injuries from her family, her arrest warrant said.

Instead of keeping the child’s injuries hidden on the Army base that is where the toddler’s injuries were discovered then subsequently reported to authorities.

Detective Jamie Hall of the sheriff’s department was dispatched to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville to investigate the abuse allegations once it was determined the injuries had been caused in Campbell County.

“He was bruised from head to toe and had a broken arm,” was Hall’s reply when asked by General Scarlet Ellis to describe Peyton Douglas’ injuries at Smith’s preliminary hearing. Hall elaborated on the wounds saying the child had “bruises inside his ears,” “cigarette burns on his hands” and “both eyes were black.”

At the same hearing, Detective Damon Chestnut of the Clarksville Police Department Major Crimes Unit said his first interview with Smith produced little information.

However, as the interview progressed Smith began to admit responsibility for some of the boy’s injuries, Chestnut testified.

Through the course of the interview, Smith said he was guilty of the bruises on the toddler’s back and buttocks, Chestnut said. Smith then said the injury of Peyton’s arm was his fault as well.

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