Tennessee teacher who held ‘ghost hunting’ teens at gunpoint to face grand juryby Cherlyn Gardner Strong on Dec. 31, 2010, under Ghosts and Hauntings
There is still no resolution in the case of the Tennessee teacher who held nine teens at gunpoint in Tennessee. The incident involving ‘ghost hunting’ teens and high school teacher, Stacy Swallows, occurred September 5th at a cemetery near Chattanooga.
The teens stated that they read a ghost story related to the private family cemetery on the Internet, which involved a ghost called the “Pitty Pat Booger”. The teacher, Stacy Swallows, 45, who lives nearby, blocked the teens from exiting the cemetery with his car. He then held the group with an assault rifle until police arrived.
The incident sparked outrage among residents, dividing an entire community. Some residents were enraged over the actions of the teacher. Some residents said that Swallows did nothing wrong, and that the teens should be charged with trespassing. Cemetery owner, Bobby Cassidy, sided with Swallows. Cassidy said that Swallows was fully supported and “he had all the rights in the world to go down there.”
Swallows faces 19 counts of aggravated assault and false imprisonment.
General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon said at Swallows’ arraignment on November 17th, that both Swallows and the teens made errors in judgment. He added that the case “should have been settled here instead of drug on in the courts for years as it certainly will be.”
As far as the teens are concerned, Judge moon determined that the teens were not guilty of trespassing.
“The proof conclusively shows that none of these young people got out of their vehicles, did not step foot on the cemetery property, had no weapons, guns nor contraband and committed no criminal offenses. As a result, under Tennessee law, Mr. Swallows had no legal authority to make an arrest for an offense that was never committed in his presence or anywhere else. These young people had an absolute right to be on the public road where they were illegally stopped…The Tennessee General Assembly has substantially changed the old common rules of a citizen’s arrest. A citizen can only make an arrest for an offense committed in the citizen’s presence or when a citizen has a reasonable belief that a felony has or or is about to be committed – neither of which occurred in this case.”
Directing his comments to both parties involved, he added, “Nothing good happens in a cemetery after dark.”
According to court records online, Swallows’ next court date is scheduled for January 25, 2011.
Read more of Cherlyn’s posts at her website.