Two TBI agents indicted on charges stemming from alleged illegal search

Two Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents have been indicted by a Lake County grand jury on assault and kidnapping charges stemming from an allegedly illegal search of a Ridgely residence in 2015, according to the Dyersburg State Gazette.

The homeowners, Fred Austin Wortman Jr. and his wife, Marilyn, have also filed civil lawsuits over the search by TBI agents Mark Reynolds and Jeff Jackson.

On Thursday, March 15, Lake County Grand Jury released indictments on Reynolds and Jackson on 3 charges including: 2 counts of aggravated assault, 2 counts of aggravated kidnapping and one count of aggravated burglary.

According to Wortman, the incident occurred on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 (when the agents knocked on his door).

“They asked me if I would answer some questions and I told them I would not answer questions without an attorney,” explained Wortman. “They proceeded to ask me questions anyways – after I already said no.”

Wortman says the two agents then asked to search his home. However, when asked to furnish a search warrant, Wortman says the agents admitted they did not have one.

…”I told them if they didn’t have a search warrant, I wanted them off of my property. I asked them to leave three times … they never even told me what they were looking for.

“I turned around, reached out and opened the door and walked through the opening and was in the process of shutting the door when the door was violently pushed into me from the outside. … I was trying to keep the door from opening and yelled at my wife to call 911,” said Wortman.

At that time, Wortman says the two agents made entry to his home, knocking him backward into a table placed near the entranceway.

“Jackson told me he could shoot me because he thought I was going for a gun,” recalled Wortman shaking his head…I could not have been going for a gun because I had been holding the door and never moved from the door until they had broken inside of my house.”

The article reports the sheriff’s department responded to the call, subsequently obtained a search warrant and searched both his home and his daughter’s home without reported results.

In a separate civil action, Wortman Lake County Judge Danny Goodman wrongfully failed to issue arrest warrants against the TBI agents last year.  (Goodman has since become district attorney general of the 29th Judicial District.)  There was  hearing on the action – called a writ of mandamus – on Monday before Lake County Chancery Court Judge Tony Childress, the State Gazette reports in a separate article that says the judge indicated he would review the case for 60 days before issuing a decision. Goodman’s attorney, among other things, contended the issue is now moot since the agents have been indicted.

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