Covington – WAYNE BASKIN, 72, former Sheriff of Tipton County, died Saturday evening, December 31, 2005, at Baptist Hospital Tipton in Covington. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, January 3, at 11 a.m. at the Covington Funeral Home chapel with interment to follow in the Helen Crigger Cemetery in Munford. Visitation will be held on Monday, January 2, from 5-8 p.m. at the funeral home. He was a member of the Smyrna Baptist Church and a homebuilder prior to his law enforcement career. Mr. Baskin, the husband of Joyce Baskin, also leaves one son, Randy Wayne Baskin of Covington, two stepsons, Ferris Wayne Fletcher, Jr. of Castilian Springs, TN and Kevin Ray Fletcher of Katy, TX; one sister, Lettie Lou Cousar of Burlison; one brother, Donald Ray Baskin of Brighton; eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Covington Funeral Home
[The Commercial Appeal; Memphis, Tenn; 2 Jan 2006; Pg 12]
Federal Probe Sheriff Wayne Baskin Era
Year of 1989
Despite quiet, federal probe of Tipton continues
By Jerry Markon
The Commercial Appeal
Jackson, Tenn., Bureau
FEDERAL PROBE Sheriff Wayne Baskin Era | COVINGTON, Tenn. – Federal agents no longer roam the halls of the Tipton County Criminal Justice Complex.
As former sheriff Wayne Baskin settles into his Alabama prison cell, Tipton countians want to forget the 1 1/2-year FBI probe that put him there. Trying to repair the damage to the county’s image, they’re more concerned these days with economic growth than mysterious deaths and federal indictments.
“Actually, it’s been rather dull lately. We’re just taking care of county business,” said county executive Jeff Huffman. “If the federal investigation is still going, it’s a lot less visible.”
But federal officials, while acknowledging they don’t expect more indictments soon, say their probe into county corruption is continuing. Though investigators have paid more attention to other cases recently, members of Baskin’s former department remain under close scrutiny.
And in Tipton County, a political battle is brewing over Baskin’s successor, Tipton County Sheriff Buddy Lewis. Critics say Lewis has backed off a promised crackdown on vice; other defend his performance. Lewis was appointed sheriff by the Tipton County Commission in July, after Baskin resigned June 22. Baskin was indicted that day by a federal grand jury on charges of extortion, obstruction of justice and mail fraud.
The 13-year sheriff pleaded guilty and was later sentenced to 33 months in prison. He entered the Fedearl Prison Camp in Montgomery, Ala., Nov 29.
Baskin’s indictment climaxed an FBI and grand jury probe that has looked at gambling, narcotics, liquor and firearms violations in Tipton County. The probe has focused on Baskin’s department, but also includes other county officials.
FBI agents have also investigated possible involvement by Baskin’s department in three mysterious slayings in the county.
The shooting death last November of Tipton County Sheriff’s Deputy Ricky Rose and the separate shootings of two auto mechanics remain unsolved. Only the Rose case remains under active federal investigation, said sources.
The deaths of the auto mechanics – John Rann and Johnny Washington Pool III – are still under state scrutiny, but officials don’t expect arrests soon, said Paul G. Summers, district attorney general for Tipton County.
U.S. Atty. Hickman Ewing, Jr. confirmed that “there is still a federal investigation in Tipton County” and that investigators are still looking at Baskin’s former department.
He said the grand jury that indicted Baskin expires this month, and that authorities will likely empanel another grand jury, possibly in January, to hear more evidence.
[ FEDERAL PROBE Sheriff Wayne Baskin Era | Despite quiet, federal probe of Tipton continues; The Commercial Appeal; Memphis, Tenn; 10 Dec 1989; Pg 22]
Slaying of Tipton deputy still under investigation
By Jerry Markon
The Commercial Appeal
Jackson, Tenn., Bureau
COVINGTON, Tenn. – One year after the shooting of Tipton County Sheriff’s Deputy Ricky Rose, the federal probe into his death remains active, sources say.
Federal and state investigators had scheduled a meeting last week to discuss the case, said Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Agent Jack Blackwell, but called it off due to scheduling conflicts. Rose was shot in the head Nov. 28, 1988, in his office. He died the next day.
The investigation of Rose’s death is part of a widespread federal probe into corruption in Tipton County. The probe led to the indictment last June of former sheriff Wayne Baskin, who reported to a federal prison last month.
For Rose’s family, which on Nov. 28 filed a lawsuit charging official negligence in Rose’s death, it’s never too late to solve the case.
“No amount of money can compensate us for our suffering,” said Rose’s brother, Michael Rose. “Obviously, we want some action to be taken, but we realize it takes time.”
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. Dist. Court, charges that Baskin “authorized, approved or ordered” Rose’s death. It charges that Rose’s partner, Deputy Jimmy Hicks, deliberately shot him. The lawsuit, which seeks $7 million, names Baskin, Hicks and Tipton County.
State authorities charged Hicks with involuntary manslaughter in the killing, but the charges were dropped at a hearing last February. Hicks, who was close friends with Rose, initially told investigators Rose accidentally shot himself.
U.S. Atty. Hickman Ewing Jr. said the Rose probe “is still an open investigation.”
He would not comment further.
[Slaying of Tipton deputy still under Investigation; The Commercial Appeal; Memphis, Tenn; 10 Dec 1989; Pg 22]
FBI Checks for Link of Lawmen to Slayings
By Jerry Markon
and Guy Reel
The Tipton County Sheriff’s Department is being investigated by the FBI in connection with three mysterious slayings.
The Commercial Appeal confirmed details of the probe with sources close to the investigation, which is being handled by the FBI’s Memphis office.
All of the killings occurred in this small West Tennessee county of about 36,000 people about 30 miles north of Memphis. They include the shooting in November of a sheriff’s deputy involved in a narcotics investigation and the separate deaths of two auto mechanics, at least one of whom is said to have had ties to sheriff’s deputies.
On Thursday, Tipton County Sheriff Wayne Baskin firmly denied any knowledge of anything linking the sheriff’s office or any of its 20 employees, 12 of whom are deputies, to the killings.
“I just can’t believe this department had any part of this,” said Baskin, who has served as sheriff since 1976. “I’ll have to see it before I’ll believe it.”
Dist. Atty. Gen. Paul Summers, whose district includes Tipton County, said he was aware of the FBI investigation into the killings of the two auto mechanics, and indicated he supported the probe fully.
But Summers said he had no knowledge of any Sheriff’s Department involvement in either death.
Last month, a federal grand jury in Memphis met to examine alleged misconduct in Tipton County. Tuesday, it reconvenes. The panel previously subpoenaed several Tipton Sheriff’s Department officials and county court records.
The grand jury has been studying the criminal records of at least 16 county residents, including several nightclub owners and the operator of an alleged horse-racing track in the county.
The victims of the Tipton County slayings under FBI scrutiny were:
- Johnny Washington Pool III, 23, a Covington auto mechanic, whose body was found in a burning truck on October. He had been shot one in the back.
Sources close to the investigation said Tipton County sheriff’s deputies are being investigated in connection with Pool’s death, but the exact nature of their suspected involvement remains unclear. The sources said Pool had unspecified ties to one or more sheriff’s officers.
- John Rann, 24, a self-employed auto mechanic whose body was found in a ditch in south Tipton County in 1986. County court records show Rann, who was shot in the back and chest, had been charged six months earlier with kicking a patrol car, assaulting a sheriff’s officer and tearing his uniform. Rann’s case is still under investigation by the Sheriff’s Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
- Tipton County Sheriff’s Deputy Ricky Rose, 22, a narcotics investigator who was shot in the head Nov. 28 in his office in the Criminal Justice Complex in Covington. He died the next day in the Regional Medical Center at Memphis.
After Rose’s death, Baskin and Summers, the district attorney general, said the deputy accidentally shot himself while cleaning his gun.
But following an investigation by the TBI, Rose’s partner, Deputy Jimmy Hicks, was charged with involuntary manslaughter. Hick faces a preliminary hearing Feb. 23 in Tipton County General Sessions Court.
Hicks, who shared an office with Rose, insisted after the shooting that Rose had accidentally shot himself. He also said he and Rose had been close friends, and described the deputy as “like my brother.”
Carla Roberts, Rose’s former wife, said Rose told her shortly before his death that he tired of “fighting for his life” as a narcotics investigator and planned to quit his job after his next paycheck.
“He was very nervous,” Ms. Roberts said. “He watched his back.”
Rose had earlier met with FBI agents concerning the complaint of a prisoner in the Tipton County Jail that he was mistreated by Sheriff’s officers, sources said. The meeting was apparently unrelated to the Rann and Pool killings.
Baskin maintained that the department has thoroughly investigated the Pool and Rann slayings.
“We’ve done everything, and we’re still working on them. I hope we solve them,” he said.
Summers said he met with U.S. Atty. Hickman Ewing Jr. in Memphis in November and asked for a federal probe into one of the killings, but he would not say which one.
During the meeting, which was also attended by a TBI agent and a Tipton County sheriff’s deputy, Summers said he told Ewing that federal laws may have been violated in connection with one of the killings.
Summers would not be more specific.
“If there is any corruption in my counties, I fully support efforts to get to the bottom of it,” he siad.
Ewing confirmed that he met with Summers about a shooting in Tipton County, but would not elaborate.
The U.S. attorney would not say whether his office is investigating the Rann, Pool and Rose shootings, but said that “anything the FBI is involved in is usually coordinated with us.”
Sources said the FBI investigation into Tipton County law enforcement began in 1986 with a federal probe into the Police Department in Mason, a town of 470 in south Tipton County, then broadened into a large-scale probe into the Sheriff’s Department and other county officials.
Former acting Mason Police Chief Guy Stegall pleaded guilty in federal court last August to one count of extortion and one count of perjury.
The extortion charge stemmed from a March 21 incident in which Stegall allegedly received $1,000 from two men in exchange for not arresting them on cocaine charges.
The grand jury also charged Stegall with lying to the panel about a conversation he allegedly had with Deputy Hicks concerning a plot to plant cocaine on a Mason alderman.
Hicks, who was asked by Stegall to help him plant the cocaine, reported Stegall’s overture to federal authorities, Ewing said. Hicks, a narcotics investigator, then testified as a government witness against the acting chief.
Stegall was sentenced to 10 months in prison and entered the Federal Prison Camp Marion, Ill., on Jan 3.
Sources said the December 1986 killing of Rann, whose body was found by a county highway employee in a ditch off Ray Bluff Road in south Tipton County, is also a focus of the federal probe.
Rann’s car was found abandoned shortly after he disappeared about 1 1/2 miles from where his body was later discovered. The car was unlocked, and the keys were missing.
Rann, a resident of Drummonds, had been missing for eight days after failing to show up for a Thanksgiving dinner. He was last seen alive Nov. 26 at an auto salvage yard on Ray Bluff Road near Dixonville.
Six months before his death, Rann was charged with public drunkenness, assaulting an officer, resisting arrest, destroying county property, and breach of peace after he allegedly scuffled with Tipton County Sheriff’s Department officers.
He received a six-month suspended prison term and a $434.40 fine, according to Tipton County General Sessions Court records.
After Rann’s court hearing, his grandfather, Albert King of Drummonds, said he saw Baskin threaten Rann in the Criminal Justice Complex in Covington. Baskin, according to King, pointed his finger at Rann and told him, “I’ll get you, one way or the other. You mark that down.” King said Rann did not respond.
Baskin denied making any threats. “That’s not true. I didn’t even know the boy,” he said.
FBI agents are also investigating Pool’s death in October. Pool’s father, J. W. Pool, said FBI agents have interviewed him several times.
The younger Pool, who had worked as a mechanic at Hamby Motor Co. in Covington, was discovered in the passenger seat of his burning GMC truck beside the Hatchie River, Summers said.
Summers coordinated the TBI investigation into Pool’s death. A passing fisherman found the burning truck in an unincorporated part of the county.
The autopsy report on Pool showed he was killed by a single gunshot wound to his back, and indicated he was dead before his body was burned.
The state Fire Marshal’s Office in Jackson found that the fire was deliberately set, Summers said.
The slain man’s father confirmed that he had been questioned by FBI agents. J. W. Pool would not discuss the details, but noted that “they said they were going to get to the bottom of it.”
[FBI Checks for Link of Lawmen to Slayings; The Commercial Appeal; Memphis, Tenn; 12 Feb 1989; Pg 1 & 11]