Indictment against two TBI agents for alleged illegal search dismissed

Dyer County Circuit Court Judge Roy B. Morgan has dismissed indictments handed down in March against TBI Agents Mark Reynolds and Jeff Jackson with approval of the current local district attorney general and with grumbling from those who made allegations that they conducted an illegal search, reports the Dyersburg State Gazette.

On Thursday, March 15, the two agents were indicted by the Lake County Grand Jury on charges, including 2 counts of aggravated assault, 2 counts of aggravated kidnapping and one count of aggravated burglary, after Ridgely residents Fred and Marilyn Wortman claimed they entered their homes with weapons drawn during an alleged illegal search conducted in 2015.

“District Attorney General Kim Helper was assigned to our case and supported the decision to dismiss charges,” said Wortman. “We feel the decision made by Mrs. Helper was made without due diligence, and find it hard to believe anyone could dismiss charges without talking to the victims first. She never even spoke to my family until the first day of court.”

Following the dismissal, TBI released the following statement regarding the incident:

“In 2015, at the request of then District Attorney General Mike Dunavant, TBI initiated an investigation into Fred Auston Wortman, III, son of Fred Wortman, Jr., regarding an attempt by Wortman III to kill his wife. Due to a thorough investigation by our agency’s Special Agents, Wortman III ultimately pleaded guilty to charges of Attempted First Degree Murder and Solicitation of First Degree Murder and received a 30-year prison sentence.

“As part of the initial investigation, TBI Agents learned that evidence of the crime by Wortman III was located in the home of Wortman, Jr. TBI Agents initially provided Wortman, Jr. the opportunity to cooperate with law enforcement. When he declined, Agents secured a lawful search warrant for the home and collected the evidence. The search of this residence is at the center of these current, baseless allegations.

“This is the second attempt by Wortman, Jr., to bring charges against these Agents. Both attempts have resulted in an immediate dismissal by two different District Attorneys General. “It is unfortunate that these veteran TBI Agents have had to endure this situation as a result of performing their duties,” said TBI Deputy Director Jason Locke. “While we appreciate it may be difficult for Mr. Wortman, Jr. to see his son go to prison for such a terrible crime, retaliation against these Agents is simply unacceptable.”

Note: Previous post HERE. Says a TBI spokesman via email: This was an unfortunate situation in which the father tried to use the justice system to retaliate against these agents that worked the case which resulted in his son pleading guilty and receiving a 30 year sentence for his role in a murder for hire plot of his wife.

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