published Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Chattanooga: 'Big Poppa' pleads guilty to assault

A 47-year-old man charged with shooting another man twice and later threatening a witness in his pending trial pleaded guilty this morning.

Leon “Big Poppa” Holmes pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and received a five-year sentence from Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern.

If Tennessee Department of Corrections officials categorize Holmes as a range one offender, he could serve as little as 1 1/2 years before parole eligibility.

Holmes was originally charged with attempted first-degree murder and multiple other charges in the Feb. 27, 2010 shooting of Cecil Stodghill.

As part of a plea agreement between prosecutor Bill Hall and Holmes defense attorney Arvin Reingold, the murder charge was reduced to aggravated assault and all other charges were dismissed.

Holmes was arrested on Jan. 31 for coercion of a witness, after the witness told police that Holmes approached him and told him that if he testified, Holmes or “his boys would take care of him,” according to court documents. Holmes then drew a line across his own throat, documents show.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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