UPDATE: Lacie Stone and others release statements after domestic assault case dismissed for husband
A four-page memo spells out the reasons why District Attorney Neal Pinkston believes the charges against Bobby Stone should be dropped.
UPDATE: A four-page memo spells out the reasons why District Attorney Neal Pinkston believes the charges against Bobby Stone should be dropped.
One reason listed is that Stone's wife, Lacie, did not keep her story straight in statements to police and TBI.
Officers noted those statements alone were not enough cause for an arrest.
It also says the detective failed to notify Mr. Stone of his right to remain silent.
Chattanooga police admit the error wasn't intentional.
Pinkston also mentions public statements made by Mayor Andy Berke, Police Chief Fred Fletcher, and Mrs. Stone were made before her husband's first appearance in court.
Ultimately the judge agreed to drop the domestic violence and vandalism charges against him.
"The fact is that Mayor Andy Berke had an inappropriate relationship with my wife and that he and his staff conspired with Chief Fred Fletcher to have me falsely arrested so they could cover that fact up and that's all I'm going to say right now," Mr. Stone said moments after the ruling.
Despite the fact it cannot be prosecuted, Mrs. Stone stands by her claim that the violence and vandalism happened.
Her attorney, John Cavette, read a statement by her also denying an inappropriate relationship with Mayor Berke.
"My husband continues to make untrue allegations about me, my colleagues and what happened that night. Those allegations are completely false. I just want to bring this unfortunate event to a close, move on with my life and ask everyone to respect my privacy moving forward," Cavette said on behalf of Mrs. Stone.
Mayor Andy Berke's office released this statement in regards to Bobby Stone's allegations about Mayor Berke and his wife:
No information we received today changes the previous statements we have made. Mayor Berke has already stated that all allegations made by Mr. Stone are absolutely false.
The Mayor’s Office does not get involved in any police investigations. Stacy Richardson did not influence this investigation and only came to pick up Lacie Stone from the Fletcher’s home.
Mayor Berke has absolute confidence that the Chattanooga Police Department conducted the investigation on their own and without influence from the Mayor’s Office, the Chief of Police’s Office, or anyone else.
Chattanooga Police Chief. Fred Fletcher released the following statement in response to the State of Tennessee vs Robert F. Stone Case:
"I need to clarify an important point relevant to recent information. As soon as I learned of this incident I contacted on-duty police command and placed them completely in charge. Commanders make difficult decisions every day. I entrusted all decisions to be made independently by investigators with no direction from me. No one from the mayor's office had any contact with any police officers, other than me, and had no influence on the decisions that were made on how to address this case."
Lt. Jerome Halbert, the Commander of the Chattanooga Police Department's Special Victim's Unit and Property Crimes Division issued the following statement:
"I was the commander of this investigation. My team and I received no influence from Chief Fred Fletcher or the mayor's office and had no contact at all with the mayor's office. We investigated consistent with my many years of experience working domestic violence cases. My officers handled this incident in good faith performance of their duties to our community."
PREVIOUS STORY: Charges of domestic assault against Bobby Stone were dismissed in a hearing Friday morning.
District Attorney Neal Pinkston filed a motion to drop charges against Bobby Stone, the husband of Berke adviser Lacie Stone, stemming from a May altercation over a mobile phone.
Pinkston said in his motion that Bobby Stone hadn't been read his Miranda rights before he was interviewed by police and that Lacie Stone made "inconsistent" statements about the incitement.
Stone told investigators at the time that his wife was having an affair with Berke - a claim strongly denied by the mayor.
Pinkston had earlier asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to look into the way the police handled the case.
Lacie Stone's attorney released the following statement on his client's behalf Friday afternoon:
"The last six months of my life have been extremely difficult. Anytime you have difficulties in your marriage you want to keep it private. In the unfortunate event that those problems escalate to physical violence, as it did to me on May 20, the last thing you want to do is talk to members of the media about.
My husband continues to make untrue allegations about me, my colleagues, and what happened that night. Those allegations are completely false. I just want to bring this unfortunate event to close, move on with my life, and ask everyone to respect my privacy going forward."
PREVIOUS STORY: The domestic assault hearing involving Lacie Stone's husband, Bobby has been delayed again to October 21st. The hearing was scheduled to for Monday morning. The hearing was delayed until Friday because one of the attorneys involved in the case is out of town.
Lacie Stone is one of Chattanooga Mayor, Andy Berke's senior advisors. The domestic violence incident sparked allegations of an inappropriate relationship between Lacie Stone and the mayor, something both of them deny, but has prompted an investigation by the TBI.
PREVIOUS STORY: The husband to one of Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke's senior advisors will have to wait until August for his case to be heard in front of a judge.
Bobby Stone appeared in court for the first time Tuesday on domestic violence and vandalism charges involving his wife, Lacie Stone, who is one of the mayor's stop advisors.
Lacie Stone was also in the courtroom but sat in a different pew next to her attorney.
The incident sparked allegations of an inappropriate relationship between Lacie Stone and the mayor, something both of them deny, but has prompted an investigation by the TBI.
An attorney representing Bobby Stone tells Channel 3 he asked for the case to be postponed until the TBI's investigation is complete.
During the hearing that lasted less than a minute, Judge Lila Statom granted the request but ordered the husband and wife not to have any contact with each other.
Attorney's for both parties did not have any comment after Tuesday's hearing.
The case will now go before a judge on August 9th.
Bobby Stone's attorney believes the TBI's investigation will be completed by then.
Judge Lila Statom ordered Stone and his wife, Lacie Stone to have no contact with one another.
PREVIOUS STORY: The husband of Mayor Andy Berke’s senior advisor told officers he was punched several times by his wife on the night he was arrested for domestic violence and vandalism charges, according to an official investigative record created by police.
Bobby Stone, 54, is accused of dragging his wife by the belt and throwing a rock through her car’s back window. Lacie Stone, 38, was not charged in the incident.
According to the document, both parties admit the incident began over suspicions that Mrs. Stone was texting another man.
The document reads, "Robert stated during the struggle over the phone Mrs. Stone had punched him several times in the face."
Mr. Stone told at least one officer his wife was “f******g the mayor”, the document stated.
At one point Mrs. Stone told an officer she did not want to press charges because she was worried about her career and her reputation.
Prior to speaking with Mr. Stone, police had responded to Chief Fred Fletcher’s home where Mrs. Stone went for safety after the alleged assault.
Mrs. Stone told officers her husband was making outrageous claims.
“He believes I have been unfaithful and wants to seek revenge,” Mrs. Stone told officers.
Mayor Berke denied the allegations in a statement Tuesday night.
“Upon being arrested and charged, her husband made numerous false allegations about me and other people involved in city government,” he wrote. “Let me be clear: the allegations are absolutely false.”
The next day, the Twitter account under Bobby Stone’s name published a now-deleted tweet stating, “When someone says: “Let me be clear’ they’re lying.”
After the struggle on Friday night, Mrs. Stone called Fletcher for help and he instructed her to come to his nearby home for safety.
Mrs. Stone told Fletcher that her husband was angry over an alleged affair and had attacked her and choked her in an attempt to retrieve her cell phone. She also said he smashed her cell phone and broke the rear windshield of her vehicle.
Fletcher spoke to Mr. Stone on the phone and told him he was going to have to report the incident.
“I made it clear that this incident will be investigated the same as any other crime,” Fletcher said in a statement to Channel 3 earlier this week.
An official report of the incident states inconsistencies with Mrs. Stone’s story. It states she told officers she was not assaulted and did not see her husband break the car windshield, contrary to what she told Fletcher moments before their arrival.
Berke hired Lacie Stone to be communications director after his election in 2013. She was promoted to senior advisor three years later.
Channel 3 reached out to Lacie Stone Thursday after obtaining new details of Friday night’s incident and she declined to comment. Her attorney responded on her behalf with a written statement.
"It's unfortunate that selected documents have been made public and do not reflect the entire story," said Attorney John Cavett, who says his client was the victim of an unprovoked attack at the hands of her husband.
"After Lacie gave an initial statement to the police, she had multiple contacts with investigators and gave approximately two hours of statements on Tuesday which were not released today," continued Cavett, who says Lacie Stone was injured in the attack and her injuries have been properly documented.
"To suggest that she was the perpetrator in this instance is ridiculous," said Cavett, who concluded by asking for privacy for his client.
Channel 3 has requested access to all police records in connection to the incident, which would include supplements to the original report detailing Lacie Stone's follow-up interviews with police. Those documents have not been released by the department due to the "on-going investigation".
Since the incident, Berke has cancelled multiple public appearances but did appear Thursday at the Chattanooga Police Department Awards ceremony.
The mayor was a scheduled speaker at a United Way news conference Tuesday but “was called away at the last minute,” according to the organization. The city official who filled in at the event told Channel 3 he didn’t know the mayor’s schedule.
The City of Chattanooga’s Human Resources Department addresses personal relationships in its employee information guide. It says employees involved in any personal, romantic or intimate relationship must disclose it to the department head.
“When a conflict or potential conflict arises due to the relationship affecting employment, the City reserves the right to make any and all employment decisions in the best interest of the City, which may include requiring one of the employees to give up his/her position,” the guide states.
Mr. Stone’s attorney Lee Davis released a statement on his client’s behalf saying his client is not guilty of any criminal charge but acknowledges the argument concerning their marriage.
TBI announced on Thursday, it has launched an investigation into the incident at the request of the local district attorney.
Bobby Stone is due in court May 31.