published Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Authorities respond to family's indictments in shooting death of 3-year-old girl

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- In a joint statement Monday, the Bradley County Sheriff's Office and the 10th Judicial District Attorney's Office responded to the recent indictments of four family members in the May shooting death of 3-year-old Kadalynn Robinson.

"While all of us regret the suffering of those who loved Kadalynn, we respect the findings of the 12 Bradley County citizens who returned the indictment," the news release states. "It is now the duty of the district attorney to evaluate the case and in conjunction with the [sheriff's office] search for justice."

The statement does not quote either Sheriff Jim Ruth or District Attorney General Steve Bebb.

A Tennessee state trooper, his wife and two daughters were indicted last week by the Bradley County grand jury on charges relating to the accidental death May 30 at the family's home.

Indicted were Tommie Graham; his wife, Deborah Louise Graham; Jennifer Haylee Graham; and Elizabeth Hayden Graham.

Sheriff's deputies and emergency medical personnel responded to the Graham home after a 911 call by the child's mother, Jennifer Haylee Graham.

According to investigators, the small girl and her 2-year-old cousin had been playing inside the home and found a .45-caliber handgun.

The grand jury indictments include charges of criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment against Tommie Graham, 57. Indictments of reckless endangerment were issued against Deborah Louise Graham, 56, Jennifer Haylee Graham and Elizabeth Hayden Graham, whose ages were unavailable.

All four turned themselves in Thursday at the Bradley County Jail and were released on their own recognizance pending a court hearing.

In a statement last week, Tennessee Highway Patrol Col. Tracy Trott said Lt. Graham had been placed on discretionary leave, although the case is not related to his duties as a state trooper.

"No decision has been reached regarding the length of the discretionary leave or any internal disciplinary action," according to Trott's statement. "We have faith in the justice system and continue to keep Lt. Graham and his family in our thoughts and prayers."

The Monday news release noted that the sheriff's office and the district attorney's office "have faith in the justice system and people of Bradley County and trust the best interest of all is properly served."

Contact Randall Higgins at or 423-314-1029.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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