Mother of alleged shooter indicted on witness bribery

By Thomas Wilson
STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   The mother of a Butler man accused of shooting his wife in the face last September was indicted on two counts of bribing a witness by a Carter County grand jury on Tuesday.
   Margaret Louise Reece Calderon, 55, 151 Jackson Ave., faces two felony counts of bribing a witness after allegedly attempting to get two witnesses to lie to police about a shooting incident involving her son.
   Lester Reece, 35, of Butler, was indicted for the attempted first-degree murder of his wife, Kathy Jean Reece, by a grand jury in January. He stands accused of shooting Mrs. Reece, 30, in the face with a handgun at the couple's 474 Whaleytown Road residence in Butler.
   Carter County Sheriff's Department deputies were called to the Whaleytown Road residence shortly after midnight on Sept. 7, 2003 in reference to a shooting.
   According to initial police reports, Kathy Reece appeared to have been shot at close range with either a .38- or a .357-caliber handgun. The bullet exited the side of her jaw. Two of the couple's three children were in the residence at the time of the shooting, according to the CCSD report.
   According to a sheriff's department press release, several people came to the Reece home on the afternoon of Sept. 6 for a cookout. Mrs. Reece, her daughter, and a female visitor went to a grocery store in Elizabethton to get food and supplies for the cookout. When they returned, Lester Reece began yelling at his wife about how long they had been gone.
   Witnesses attending the cookout said Lester Reece continued to yell and curse at his wife throughout the day, and that he also had been outside on the porch shooting rounds from a pistol into a tree, according to the release.
   According to the sheriff's department, the couple's 9-year-old son was asleep on the couch in the living room, the same room in which his mother was shot. Their 11-year-old daughter was awake in her bedroom.
   The girl originally told the sheriff, who was first to arrive on the scene, that a masked gunman entered the home and shot her mother, then left on foot. However, further investigation by police revealed no masked man had entered the residence.
   According to the police report by CCSD Investigator Sgt. Audrey Covington, investigators questioned two witnesses regarding the shooting on Sept. 8. According to the warrant against Calderon, she allegedly approached the first witness and told him "if he lied to investigators he would receive something." She also allegedly approached the second witness and told him that if he lied to investigators she would give him "pills or money." Covington took out the warrant charging Calderon with bribery of a witness after receiving statements from both witnesses.
   In November of 1995, Calderon pled guilty to a charge of theft over $500 in Carter County Criminal Court. She was sentenced to two years incarceration with the Tennessee Department of Corrections, with one year being suspended.
   Lester Reece was also indicted in January on a charge of unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, a class E felony. He has a record of several arrests by officers of the CCSD which includes charges from burglary and disorderly conduct to contributing to the delinquency of a minor and the sale of Schedule III narcotics.
   A no contact order barring Calderon from seeing her three grandchildren was entered by Judge John Walton while her case was active in General Sessions Court. The contact restriction order was amended last month granting Calderon full contact with the children. The motion to amend the contact ordered was joined and approved by Kathy Reece.