Meridian Star

Local News

February 16, 2013

Woman gets sentence suspended in branding case

MERIDIAN —     A Newton County youth will have to live the rest of his life with the scars of a branding incident while a woman charged in the incident gets her sentence suspended after a guilty plea.

    According to Lauderdale County Circuit Court records, Denise Ann Randall, 46, of 3320 County Lane in Meridian, was sentenced this week to 15 years with the Mississippi Department of Corrections with that sentence suspended. Randall will serve five years on probation.

    Randall, along with two teenagers, was charged in March of 2011 with various offenses ranging from aggravated assault with a deadly weapon to contributing to a juvenile committing a felony offense. Randall's plea was only for an aggravated assault charge in connection with the incident. She did not receive any sentence for the other charges she was indicted on Sept. 26, 2011 including kidnapping and two counts of directing or causing a felony by a juvenile.

    Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Ward Calhoun said at the time of the arrests, "This is a strange case. Unfortunately for the victim, his injuries will be with him for the rest of his life."

    Calhoun said at the time of the initial arrests Randall hosted an underaged drinking party that included two teen-aged boys, a 12-year-old girl and the victim.

    Calhoun said an accidental bump between the victim and the young girl prompted another teen to call Trevor L. Wellerman, 15, of Newton, who was the girl's boyfriend. Calhoun said Wellerman, who was charged as an adult in the case for kidnapping and aggravated assault, traveled from Newton to the home to confront the victim.

    "He was armed with a handgun and he forced the victim to be burned on the arms and hands by hot metal the other teens heated up," Calhoun said. "These wounds are so severe."

    Calhoun said the victim was beaten by Wellerman and another teen using brass knuckles. Calhoun said Randall loaded the victim into her vehicle and took him back to Newton. Calhoun said Randall let him out at his home after which his parents notified law enforcement authorities.

    There was no information available late Friday on the status of Wellerman's case.

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