Judge McKenzie Reduces Bond For Accused
Rhea County Murderer
Crakston Cryler, editor
In Rhea County, Tennessee Len Rogers was arrested for murder and attempted
murder and soon may be able to post a bond thanks to Judge Jim Mckenzie. This
comes just one day after a lengthy bond hearing for Len Rogers, where his father,
ex-wife and detectives took the stand.
In court Vanessa Hawkins testified that, "prior to the shooting he had called me and
said if he couldn't have me nobody else would."
Sources say that Vanessa Hawkins was standing beside her boyfriend Greg Brown as
he was shot in the head and killed while inside her own home. And now, Len Rogers,
her former husband, faces charges of murder, attempted murder and phone call
harrassment. Rogers has been in custody since the July shooting. His attorney asks
that his $300,000 bond be reduced so that his family could afford to get him out.
Rogers' brother however said, "does he have a reputation for being a violent person?
No sir, no sir... I never heard anybody say anything about him being violent." Then
again, Len Rogers' brother Rusty Rogers is a deputy sheriff for the Rhea County
Sheriff's Department, as well as the former police chief of the Graysville Police
Department. This kinship between an accused murderer and a deputy sheriff brother
who wants to protect his brother must also protect a community he has sworn to protect
without favor. Naturally, it is circumstances such as these that spawn the small town
gossip surrounding this whole ordeal.
Burgess Holloway, a North Georgia resident who drove to Dayton for the hearing said,
"I don't see how the judge would even consider lowering Len Rogers' bond. People
have told me about the time when Judge Mckenzie was shot by a man and they set that
man's bond at 1 million dollars".
Holloway is referring to the incident that happened several years ago where Dayton
resident J.D. Creason got angry with his ex-wife's attorney (Jimmy McKenzie) and
shot McKenzie as he walked from the court house. McKenzie suffered several
superficial gun shot wounds from a .25 caliber pistol.
For this attempted murder upon the favored local attorney, Creason was hit with the
largest bail bond ever given to any person in Rhea County's almost 200 year history,
and that was only for an "attempt" to murder. J.D. Creason sat in the Rhea County jail
so long that by the time his trial date arrived, he was already elible for parole upon a
jury finding him guilty.
But, the prosecuting attorney valiantly fought to keep the bond of Len Rogers where it
was in hopes of keeping him behind bars saying, "there is a great possibility that this
man was attempting to kill this woman." In spite of the severity of a ruthless murder, a
woman in a total fear of her life, the judge ultimately decided to lower the accused Len
Rogers' bond to a total of just $185,000. A decision Vanessa Hawkins says frightens
here even more.
As news of the reduction in bond began to flow from the court house an unidentified
woman was ranting that "Rhea County was full of baby rapers and abusive men".
"When it comes to womens rights in Rhea County, there ain't none", she said.
Holloway was visibly upset and said that he was going to talk to the feds because he
has seen how small town justice works for some and not for others. He also said that
he feels that Rogers will get away with murder because of his relationship with the
Sheriff's Department. Rhea County Sheriff Mike Neal defends his department.
As for Vanessa Hawkins, her tragedy will continue. "All I can do is believe that God will
take care of me and my daughter if he does make the bond."
We will continue to follow this story as it unfolds.