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Sheriff Accused Of Stealing Sheep Goes On Trial

February 18, 1985

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (AP) _ A Tennessee sheriff accused of stealing sheep from a Missouri judge went on trial today. A co-defendant in the case pleaded guilty last year.

Sheriff James T. ″Tommy″ Cribbs of Dyer County, Tenn., would face a maximum sentence of seven years in jail and the loss of his job if convicted of stealing a farm animal.

Cribbs and Eugene D. Lee, both of Dyersburg, Tenn., were charged with stealing the sheep from the farm of Carter County Associate Circuit Judge David J. Hedspeth on June 10.

Hedspeth told police he heard shots and went outside to see a van leaving his property, then found one sheep missing and another injured by a gunshot. The missing sheep was worth between $80 and $100, he said.

Carter County Deputy David Brame and state conservation agent Tom May said they saw a similar van outside a Van Buren, Mo., motel a few hours later.

Brame said parts of a dressed-out lamb were seen being thrown from the window of Cribbs’ room at the motel and blood was found on his pants and watch.

Lee pleaded guilty in November and was sentenced to three years in prison. Under a plea bargain, the term was reduced to 30 days in jail and five years probation.

Cribbs pleaded innocent in December and was released on $10,000 bail.

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