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Coffee County Circuit Court Judge Venessa Jackson ordered a Beech Grove woman to serve two years in prison for the “false imprisonment” of her mentally ill sister in December 2011.
Tracy Lynn Carman-Thacker, 47, of Ferrell’s Loop Road, was convicted in July of willful abuse, neglect and exploitation of an elder (elder abuse) and false imprisonment of her 62-year-old sister.
Carman-Thacker’s sister was found Dec. 5, 2011, in a fire-damaged shed at the back of Thacker’s house.
According to investigators, when deputies and Adult Protective Services personnel arrived they found the shed locked from the outside with the hasp wired shut.
They also reported that the woman had no access to running water, electricity or food. There was a toilet in the shed that was mounted to the floor, but with no water it was full of waste. There was also a heater plugged into an extension cord and a bed next to the toilet.
During the sentencing hearing Wednesday, Carman-Thacker testified that her sister was only supposed to be in the shed a short time that day. She stated that she had to go take a nursing test and that her brother was supposed to come get the mentally challenged sister.
She also testified that neighbors were supposed to check on the woman as well. She stated that she had had reports from individuals at church and other locations that her sister had walked out into the road and was nearly struck by vehicles.
“I did what I did to protect her,” Thacker testified.
She testified that she had told her sister that if there was a problem in the shed that she should go out a window in the building.
She stated that there was food in the shed and that the toilet worked but it had to be flushed manually.
Melinda Sawyer of the Tennessee Department of Corrections pre-sentencing division stated that Carman-Thacker had told her that the plumbing been out “a couple of months.”
“She said she would do it again,” Sawyer testified that Thacker had stated, adding that she saw no remorse from Carman-Thacker.
Sawyer also noted that in checking the woman’s background she found that she had charges of traffic offenses, two counts of harassment and reckless endangerment in Coffee County and DUI, disorderly conduct, failure to appear in court and cruelty to animals in Bedford County.
Prosecutor Jeff Ridner asked Carman-Thacker why she never put the $1,100 Social Security checks that she received for the care of her sister in a separate account with her sister’s name. She testified that she had never been told to do so and that her parents did not have a separate account when they took care of the sister.
Ridner asked why she didn’t use some of the $1,100 to have the toilet repaired. She responded that the toilet worked manually.
Ridner also noted that she had $100,000 in the bank, to which Carman-Thacker responded that the money came from insurance companies for the fire that occurred at the residence on July 4, 2011.
Carman-Thacker told her attorney Floyd Don Davis that she felt that the 63 days she had already served in jail had taught her a lesson. She also stated that if she were granted probation she would take her two children to church.
Judge Jackson ordered Carman-Thacker to serve 14 months of the two-year sentence in the Department of Corrections on the elder abuse charge. Two years was the maximum sentence under state law for such a conviction. She will be on supervised probation for the remainder of the two-year sentence.
She was led from the courtroom to the Coffee County Jail to begin serving her sentence. She will be transported to state custody when a bed becomes available.
In addition to being represented by Floyd Davis, Carman-Thacker was also represented by Tullahoma attorney Bobby Carter.