Wayne County Outlook

Posted September 25, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Former Wayne County Assistant Attorney Rod Tejeda has entered a pretrial diversion agreement for a five-year period in exchange for a guilty plea to reckless homicide.

The agreement was reached during a conference Tuesday, September 10 in Wayne Circuit Court, just days before Tejeda was scheduled to go to trial on a charge of murder.

Tejeda was charged in connection with the April 2012 collision which resulted in the death of a local woman, Jerus Helen Neal.

The accident occurred on Main Street near its intersection with Young Street. Tejeda’s trial was scheduled to begin this week.

A number of stipulations are included in the pretrial agreement, which also included the signature of a member of the victim’s family.

The pretrial diversion will be supervised for the five year term. Probation and parole will conduct home visits during this time.

Tejeda is required to obey all rules and regulations imposed by probation and parole officials. He cannot have access to a handgun or firearm, and he cannot drive for a period of two years.

Tejeda must remain drug and alcohol free during this time. He will be subject to drug and alcohol testing at least twice per week, and once a month he will be subject to an unannounced home visit for drug and alcohol testing.

The diversion agreement stipulates that Tejeda is not allowed anywhere that alcohol, drugs or controlled substances are available, and he is not allowed to be in the presence of anyone who possesses these substances.

He must complete 19 hours of community service per month and provide that proof to probation and parole officials.

If Tejeda fails to complete the terms of the pretrial diversion, the agreement notes that incarceration for a period of five years is recommended.

If Tejeda successfully completes the terms of the pretrial diversion, the charge will be designated as dismissed-diverted.

The case is set for review in September 2018, according to court documents.


A historic building on the square in downtown Monticello practically collapsed a week ago Sunday afternoon.

The facade of the building, known as the Old Masonic Lodge Building, fell at approximately 1 p.m. Sunday, September 15, according to reports from the Monticello Police Department.

The building was unoccupied, and police stated that no one was injured. The traffic was detoured away from Columbia Avenue at its intersection with Main Street while clean-up efforts began.

That corner of the square had been roped off for the last couple of weeks since officials were concerned with the safety of that building, according to Mayor Jeffrey Edwards. He said that a couple of pieces of debris had fallen onto the sidewalk which prompted the city to take precautionary measures.

Crews had done some work recently to try to stabilize the building, which Edwards stated was more than 100 years old.

Some areas of railing in that corner of the square were damaged by the collapse, and Edwards said he was uncertain about damage to the sidewalk since debris remained in that area.

Edwards said the corner of the square will remain closed as long as there are safety concerns.

The building has a long history in Monticello and has housed a number of businesses along the way, including a general merchandise store, a taxi cab stand, a shoe shine shop and many others. Edwards operated a real estate business from the historic location until 2010.


A recent tragic accident on Bypass 90 has prompted officials to contact the state regarding safety in that area.

During a meeting of fiscal court on Thursday, September 12, Wayne County Judge-Executive Greg Rankin said he had been in contact with the governor’s office and with state transportation officials regarding that area of the bypass.

A three-car crash near the intersection of Bypass 90 at Jim Hill Service Road resulted in two deaths. That has caused a host of local officials to voice their concern about speeding and other traffic problems in that area.

Rankin noted during last week’s meeting that this is a state roadway, so the county can take no action. He indicated that dialogue would continue with state officials to see what can be done.


Fans of “Duck Dynasty” will have an opportunity to meet several stars from the hit reality show on October 5, during a benefit at Southwestern High School for God’s Food Pantry.

Reality television stars Jules Jeptha Robertson, his wife, Jessica, and Phil Robertson’s grandsons, John Luke and Cole Robertson, will appear at the benefit. God’s Food Pantry is hoping to raise $100,000 to help the hungry in Pulaski County.

“We’ve tried all sorts of fundraisers. We knew Duck Dynasty was a hot commodity in our community,” said Jack Keeney, director of God’s Food Pantry. “So, we’re bringing them here.”

Last year, God’s Food Pantry, which has an annual budget of $400,000, helped feed 16,838 hungry people living in poverty.

“Duck Dynasty” is beloved by 4.2 million fans on Facebook and witnessed unexpected popularity this season when 8.6 million viewers tuned into this year’s opener for season three. The show follows the comical exploits of the Robertson family, who live in Monroe, Louisiana and are known for their long, bushy beards, camouflage get-ups and down-home, redneck ways. The Robertsons love God, love family and hate technology.

Phil Robertson, the patriarch, carved out a successful business for his family making duck calls from Louisiana cedar trees. The Duck Commander duck call went on sale in 1972, and it’s been big business for the Robertsons ever since.

Jules Jeptha Robertson is the family videographer. He records the family hunting trips and edits their DVDs. Jessica, an avid Twitter user, posts commentary about her husband’s adventures in the family kitchen.

God’s Food Pantry expects the star power to attract 2,500 to 3,000 people, Kenney said.

Tickets for the event are now available. Hardcore fans of the show will want the $100 ticket. For that price, the ticket holder is invited to a “Meet and Greet,” where he or she can break bread and take photos with the stars. The ticket also grants the best seat in the house on the gym floor.

The $40 ticket grants general admission seating in the lower level bleachers and the floor. The $30 ticket will buy a general admission seat in the upper level bleachers.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.godsfoodpantry.org.

For more information contact God’s Food Pantry at (606) 679-8560 or The Center for Rural Development, which is also selling tickets, at (606) 677-6000.