DA Refuses Calls For New Probe Of Deputy's Murder
By Phil Williams
Chief Investigative Reporter
DICKSON, Tenn. -- The district attorney is refusing to reopen the investigation into the death of a Dickson County deputy.
Still, there are growing calls for some sort of independent investigation into whether other officers may have played a role in Keith Bellar's murder.
All of this follows new questions raised by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.
"We always knew that he might not come home, but I always expected it to be taken care of appropriately," said Bellar's widow, Brandi.
For months now, she has been trying to get an independent investigation into the shooting death of her husband, Deputy Keith Bellar -- and allegations that the shooter, Jayson Eggenberg, may have been the victim of taunting text messages from area officers.
Now, Brandi has an unlikely ally in the district's public defender, Jake Lockert.
"If these text messages were sent and they provoked the shooter into killing Deputy Bellar, she deserves to know, the family deserves to know, the public deserves to know," Lockert told NewsChannel 5.
In fact, after Dickson Police Chief Rick Chandler learned back in August that the deputy's widow was upset about his department's work on the case, he asked the DA to bring in the TBI to investigate.
"If there was any doubt that we covered something up, I wanted to get it out into the open," Chandler said recently.
Now, Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe has joined that call.
But DA Dan Alsobrooks tells NewsChannel 5 in an email that he has "talked to all interested parties."
"No one can suggest a crime that could or should be investigated," Alsobrooks said. "I have no jurisdiction to ask for the TBI to review non-criminal matters."
But Lockert said Alsobrooks "knows better."
"He just convicted my client two years ago for criminal responsibility for manslaughter," Lockert said.
"He knows if these officers were sending text messages taunting this shooter to the point that he committed the irrational act of killing Keith Bellar, he knows that's criminal responsibility for manslaughter."
Because of the officers rumored to be involved, Lockert said that he believes the DA has a conflict of interest in making the decision that no investigation is needed.
And that, he added, isn't fair to Keith Bellar or his family.
"If the investigation is done and it is determined that officers did not send these type text messages, then that's fine -- that's needs to come out," Lockert said.
"But if it is done and you found out they were sending text messages that provoked this young man to shoot a fine, young officer, then that needs to come out and it needs to go to a grand jury."
Lockert said heard those same allegations from other officers right after the shooting and cannot understand why it was never investigated.
Still, Dickson's police chief tells NewsChannel 5 Investigates that he and the sheriff are now unanimous in their belief that an independent investigation is needed.
They plan to meet Thursday to figure out a way to make it happen.