Headlines – 6/13/2003

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 13, 2003

Panolian Headlines: June 13, 2003

For complete stories, pick up the 6/13/03  issue of The Panolian


Judge Ups Bond to $4 Million
Public Defender Will Represent Waldron
in Capital Murder Case

    
At left, the wife of capital murder defendant Bobby Waldron parts ways with a woman who sat beside her during the proceedings in Batesville Municipal Court.
    
BY KATE B DICKSON
EDITOR


Quietly seated on the back row of the courtroom, Bobby Waldron’s wife held hands with loved ones and dabbed at tears that fell onto her cheeks.

She did so while watching her husband stand to face a capital murder charge against him Wednesday that was bound over to the Panola County Grand Jury.

Waldron, 41, of Pontotoc, is accused of luring Tina Marie Dover, 15, of Ecru, to Batesville where she was brutally murdered last week.

The victim was a 10th grader at Pontotoc High School.

Her grandparents were also in the courtroom to watch the proceedings.

Waldron, who sported a scruffy beard and wore faded black prisoner-striped pants and a blue t-shirt, was seated in a metal folding chair on the right side of the courtroom near the front. He was under the watchful eyes of about 12 city police officers who ringed the municipal court chamber. More officers stood guard outside.

Dover’s mother was quoted last week as saying police told her that her daughter was sexually assaulted and strangled.

Municipal Judge William H. McKenzie III read the affidavit filed by BPD Lt. Paul Shivers which accuses Waldron of the capital murder "in room 224 of the Hampton Inn in Batesville."

The slaying charge is a capital crime due to the underlying felony allegation he killed the teen during the felonious abuse or battery of a child, the judge explained.

McKenzie told Waldron he would not ask for a plea from the defendant and said, "This is the first of many steps of this process. You will have the opportunity to ask questions.

"You will not be required to testify against yourself," the judge told Waldron, " … and you have the right to an attorney and to meet with your attorney and family and friends under reasonable conditions."

Waldron is being held in the Panola County Detention Center.

McKenzie, who was flanked on his left by Batesville Police Chief Roger Vanlandingham, told Waldron he has a "right to a preliminary hearing to determine probable cause" as to whether he should be held on the charge or not.

Later in the day, McKenzie appointed Panola County Public Defender David Walker as Waldron’s attorney. The judge said papers were also signed that waived the preliminary hearing.
    


 
   

Marina Opening in Works for July
    
Since 1989, the Sardis Lake Marina Project has grown by leaps and bounds.

The project, originally started nearly a decade and a half ago was said to be a 20-year project and is running years ahead of schedule thanks to joint efforts between the City of Sardis, the Panola County Board of Supervisors and Skipper Marine Developments.

Approximately three months ago city representatives were informed that Skipper wished to have the marina open in time for this summer’s boating season. They were given what Mayor Richard Darby called a laundry list of tasks to accomplish in order for the developer to make its dream a reality.

One step taken to insure making the deadline was to get assistance from supervisors in removing trees in order to begin road construction to the marina.

"I think it was necessary for us to help them get this done as soon as possible," Supervisor Jessie Lyons said when the board was asked to help.

Recently, contractors for Skipper and the city have begun working at the site in further efforts to reach a July opening.

Contractors for the developer are handling dirt work and concrete placement as well as construction and installation of the marina’s slips.
    


Study Findings …
City, County Should Get Out of Hospital Business
    
BY KATE B DICKSON
EDITOR


Tri-Lakes Medical Center should be sold, leased or other affiliation alternatives pursued with a larger health system.

That’s the conclusion espoused in a report prepared by Ernst and Young consultants hired by the hospital owners – the City of Batesville and Panola County.

The report leaves open all options for exploration including a for-profit operator, a not-for-profit operator or a private hospital management company.

During an interview Wednesday, Mayor Bobby Baker said the option of local ownership can be explored but given the report findings said, "I don’t really see how [local ownership] could happen."

The financially ailing hospital has had to borrow money for its January bond payment of $500,000 and again for its upcoming July payment of $900,000.

About $20 million is owed on the hospital, Baker said.