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By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

Hearings were held Monday in Criminal Court for a pair of defendants in two high-profile Trousdale County court cases involving deaths.

Keith Alan Holder, of Carthage, was indicted in February on six counts including vehicular homicide in the June 2018 death of Donovan Crittendon.

Holder’s attorney, Zach Taylor, waived appearance and pleaded innocent on his client’s behalf before Judge Brody Kane. A hearing in the case is scheduled for July 2.

Holder, a former Drug Task Force agent, was charged after Crittendon went missing and was later pulled from the Cumberland River in June 2018. Investigators from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation reportedly determined that the two were together when Holder’s personal vehicle went into the river.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Benjamen Carter appeared in Trousdale County’s criminal court on Monday after being indicted in April on first-degree murder charges.

An autopsy later determined that Crittendon had a blood alcohol level of 0.126 but listed the cause of death as “undetermined.”

Holder remains free on $75,000 bond.

Also, an initial appearance was made by Benjamen Timothy Carter, who is facing premeditated first-degree and attempted first-degree murder charges in the death of Bailey Donoho.

Donoho’s body was found in a homeowner’s yard on Browning Branch Road on March 31 and a grand jury issued indictments later that week against Carter.

Carter’s attorney requested that the case be moved to General Sessions Court for a preliminary hearing, but Assistant District Attorney Ian Bratton cited precedent that an indictment supersedes the need for such a hearing.

Kane ruled in favor of the state but said he would hear a motion to reconsider if the defense requested. Carter is next scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 28.

Carter remains in the Wilson County Jail and is being held without bond.

Also Monday, two women entered guilty pleas to attempting to introduce contraband into the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center.

Cynthia Faye Curtis, of Winchester, pleaded guilty to mailing cell phones and tobacco in November 2017 to her son, who was an inmate at the Hartsville prison.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Kane sentenced Curtis to two years probation. Curtis will be eligible for judicial diversion, which means the charge can be dropped from her record if she completes probation without any further charges.

Jessica Nicole Scruggs, of Hartsville, pleaded guilty to smuggling marijuana into the prison and delivering it to her boyfriend, who was then incarcerated at TTCC.

Under the plea deal, Kane sentenced Scruggs to eight years and a $2,000 fine but suspended the sentence, meaning she will be on probation for that time period.

Teacher case: Carla Haynes, a former teacher at Trousdale County Elementary School who was arrested and charged with child abuse in April, made an initial appearance in General Sessions Court before Judge Kenny Linville on June 14.

Haynes is next scheduled to be in court on Sept. 27.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.