Convicted killer in state custody after vandalizing jail

By Abby Morris-Frye
star staff
amorris@starhq.com

  A Carter County man convicted of second-degree murder earlier this year has been transported to a state correctional facility to await sentencing after he reportedly vandalized a local jail and threatened staff members.
  Timothy Lee Demery, 27, was transferred to the custody of the Tennessee Department of Corrections for safekeeping on Nov. 4 to await his sentencing hearing which is currently scheduled for Dec. 17. According to a TDOC spokesperson, Demery is being housed at the Riverbend Maximum Security Facility in West Nashville.
  According to court documents filed in the murder case, his transfer was subsequent to an order by the Carter County Circuit Court signed by Judge Robert E. Cupp. The order states that "the court fines that the Johnson County Jail and Carter County Jail are insufficient for safekeeping for the defendant and that, after due inquiry, no other jail has been found that is sufficient to house the defendant."
  The order issued by the court came after Johnson County Jail Administrator Kathy Terrill, under the direction of Johnson County Sheriff Roger Gentry, filed a petition with the court asking that Demery be transferred from their facility.
  In that petition, Terrill filed a statement in an affidavit stating that Demery vandalized the Johnson County Jail facility and had threatened correctional officers there and herself. "Inmate Timothy Lee Demery was transported to the Johnson County Jail on April 29, 2004. We were asked to house Mr. Demery for Carter County until his sentencing," states Terrill in the affidavit. "He was involved with an incident on Oct. 29, 2004 involving flooding of his cell by destroying the sprinkler heads. On Nov. 1, he was involved with another inmate in destroying a TV as well as visitation monitors and flooding the pod by destroying multiple sprinkler heads.
  "We found two notes in his cell threatening to flood daily and assault my officers as well as myself. He states he has nothing to lose. He needs to be housed somewhere they can better care for him. Mr. Demery is a liability to the Johnson County Jail and no other jail in our area will accept him."
  In addition to Terrill's statement, the petition also included one of the notes which Terrill referred to in her statement. The note reads as follows without grammar or spelling correction: "Chief Terrill, This is Timothy L. Demery. I will lay down and do my time in Carter Co. Carter Co. send me here because they though I flooded (3) three times in 27 mos. I was in 37 fight and half went to ICU. I will flood this hell hole each day I'm here and then I will start assaulting your guards man and women I don't care. I will assault you if I half to. You treat me like a caged dog so here's the animal in me. I can (expletive referring to human excrement) for a year! You forget I'm in here for murder so (expletive) you, your jail and you staff. Lets raise some hell! P.S. This is not a threat it is a promise." The note was signed "Timothy Demery."
  Demery was also charged with vandalism of the Carter County Jail. Those charges include one count of vandalism over $1,000 following a flooding incident on March 17 at the jail. Carter County Sheriff John Henson told the STAR in March that Demery had broken the sprinkler heads in the "A Block" section of the jail where he was being housed, causing the cell block to flood and water to leak down into the General Sessions Court room, Judge John Walton's office and the Child Support Office, causing damage to the ceilings of those rooms and also damaging files.
  On April 29 of this year, Demery was convicted of second degree murder by a jury following a four-day trial. Demery had originally been charged with first-degree murder in the case, but after approximately two hours of deliberation, the jury convicted him of the lesser included offense of second degree murder and imposed a fine of $50,000.
  Demery is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 17. He faces 15 to 25 years in prison based on the fact that he is considered a "Range 1" offender, having only one previous felony conviction.