IS THIS THE SCANDAL THAT WILL BLOW THE DOORS OPEN ON THE MONROE COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 6, 2010) — At approximately 2:45 p.m. today, LCDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III reported a new development from the Monroe County jail regarding evidence-tampering and a likely cover-up on the part of the sheriff.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Is your recorder on?
MRS. RONDEAU: Yes.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: A man named Geoff Gunner was here until last Thursday; he had been here for some time. They transported him to prison on Thursday morning, which would have been the fourth of November. He was here in a trustee status, which means that he was working for the sheriffs out and around the community.
He was discovered to have broken into the physical evidence locker here in the Monroe County jail. He was caught in early October, one month ago. He broke into and was taking evidence out of the evidence property locker. He’s been doing this since December of 2009. We believe that there are at least 15 entries into the property locker. Sheriff Bill Bivens knows about this. Mr. Gunner was not arrested; he was transported away from here. He broke into the property locker over and over and over again from December of 2009. This is a huge story that’s not being reported here. Mr. Gunner was not arrested. They transported him away; they sent him to prison; they moved him away from here instead of this story getting out and around into the community.
Every case that had property in that property locker is contaminated. Bivens knows about this. There’s a cover-up going on.
MRS. RONDEAU: What is the purpose of the evidence locker?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: It’s where evidence goes when it’s captured from a crime scene. He’s been in there over and over again; they caught him a month ago but did not prosecute him for it. This affects tens of cases if not hundreds, and this should be reported to the FBI as soon as you can, but you can put it up on the internet tonight.
The other thing that I want to share with you is that my court date with the six charges is 1 December, and it occurred to me that Judge Blackwood is attempting to get my case all taken care of early in December because that’s when they set the grand juries for 2011. These people are trying to change the subject. They want to fix Pettway as the foreman again for two more years, 2011-2012, and they want this case done with, have me locked up and put away so that they can pick their new jury for 2011.
MRS. RONDEAU: And there won’t be anyone to say anything about it?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Yes, that’s right. Now we have other names of jurors from the grand jury. People on the outside have been directed to call you and give you those names and then cross-check them from the list that Steve Pidgeon has that I know of, and that should also be going on. If not, then I can do that when I get out of here, whenever that is. We can possibly find out that this wasn’t one person who’s been picked for jury duty last year. We have more names, and people have been told to call you to give you those names.
MRS. RONDEAU: Somebody did call me yesterday, but he mentioned Angela Davis specifically.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Right.
MRS. RONDEAU: You’ve got other names beyond Davis. Pidgeon took a list of names of jurors who served last year, so we can cross-check that; either you or Tim Harrington can cross-check the list of names that you’ve been given with the list of names that Pidgeon has from jury duty last year. We know about Davis, but there might be somebody else. Also, we want to check, if we can, to see if these people are legally here, if they’re U.S. citizens and qualified to stand jury duty because that may be an issue as well.
MRS. RONDEAU: Do you have reason to believe that one or more of them could be an illegal alien?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: The question has been raised, and I think it’s worth exploring. I’ll tell you, this thing with the property locker is huge, Sharon. It’s a very big deal, because it’s not being reported in this community. Once it’s out there, Sheriff Bivens can be…he knows. Bivens is covering this all up.
MRS. RONDEAU: Do you remember last week I had told you that a story had come out from the Advocate & Democrat? I was mistaken about the news service but correct about the content, which had said that you had refused counsel and stated that you said at the hearing that you were qualified to defend yourself.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Yes, yes. The Advocate & Democrat is a waste of print.
MRS. RONDEAU: Well, the story was credited to The Associated Press with no writer identified. It supposedly cited what happened at the November 1 hearing, and there’s no way, according to what you said, that they could have known because you said no press was allowed in the room.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: No, I didn’t see anybody in there. And again, the judge was speaking so openly and frankly about the criminal conduct that they’ve been engaged in…I said, “Do I get a copy of the transcript here?” and he said, “Maybe.” They were just very cavalier. There were no reporters in that room.
MRS. RONDEAU: So somebody must have leaked some misinformation to an AP reporter who wouldn’t put his name to the article. A writer should always identify himself so he can be reached if there are questions. It appeared in the Gannett Tennessee Newspaper Network.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: You see, there’s a lot of disinformation going on all the way around, and with this story about the evidence property loss, that it’s been broken into, Sharon, this is a very big deal. If you can get it to the FBI, let them know. All the cases that were in that property locker are now compromised, and nobody knows it around here.
MRS. RONDEAU: How did Mr. Gunner attain this status of “trustee”?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: I don’t know.
MRS. RONDEAU: But somehow he had special privileges and a lot more freedom than other people?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Right. The problem is that he’s been in there over and over again. He’s compromised how many court cases here? No one’s reporting this. When you break into a property locker, all that evidence has been compromised, and all those cases have been compromised.
MRS. RONDEAU: So not only do we have a corrupt grand jury, but we also have an evidence locker that is completely corrupted?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: The sheriff did not prosecute him; he didn’t bring this guy up on charges. I waited to see what they were going to do with him, and they transported him to prison on the charges for which he was already serving. They didn’t recharge him for breaking into the property locker because that would be a huge scandal here in Monroe County.
MRS. RONDEAU: It would affect any and all pending cases, correct?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: Right. And Sheriff Bill Bivens is part of the cover-up of the break-in. They caught this kid a month ago, in early October, and they shipped him off on Thursday morning. As far as we know, he went to the Morgan County Correctional Facility, which is where they do the processing to get people into the state prison. He may be doing time now at the Morgan County Correctional Facility; I’m not sure, but the FBI can go talk to Mr. Gunner about this. And there are others they can talk to. But yes, the property locker has been broken for ten or eleven months.
MRS. RONDEAU: I’ll definitely get in touch with the FBI on Monday.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: This is rock solid, Sharon. Do you have questions for me?
MRS. RONDEAU: How did you learn of this?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: I can’t talk about that on the phone.
MRS. RONDEAU: OK. I’m getting the messages in the bottle.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: OK. So that’s all the news.
MRS. RONDEAU: Are you doing alright?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: As well as can be expected. I’m doing my best.
MRS. RONDEAU: Do you need money?
LCDR FITZPATRICK: This is not about me. I’m fine. Let’s see what happens next week. This property locker thing is HUGE. It’s just another attack against the judicial system in Monroe County. Sheriff Bivens has just committed a criminal act.
Automated Operator: You have one minute remaining.
MRS. RONDEAU: His photo is plastered all over The Post & Email, and also Officer Prock’s.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: I’ll have a little bit more to report tomorrow, but let’s leave it where it’s at right now today.
MRS. RONDEAU: Thank you for letting me know.
LCDR FITZPATRICK: OK, Sharon. God bless. We’ll talk tomorrow.
MRS. RONDEAU: Take care.
Editor’s Note: A blatant example of the Advocate & Democrat’s propaganda can be read here. Fitzpatrick did not have his door “boarded up.” It was broken down by the four police officers. The writer also failed to report Fitzpatrick’s injuries, whose apparent booking photo was circulated on the internet in the days following his arrest. The statement that the officers didn’t intend to arrest Fitzpatrick is patently false, as proved by the unsigned warrant posted by The Post & Email here obtained directly from the Monroe County courthouse.