Arson delays abuse trial

Published 3:52 am Monday, September 21, 2009

By By Kerry Whipple Bean

A child abuse case involving a former Escambia County school teacher and her husband has been continued, the latest twist in the matter that has also seen a judge recuse himself from the case.
Judge Bradley Byrne on Monday granted a continuance in the trial of Terry Desmond and Tracy Linam pending an investigation into an arson at the home of a prosecution witness over the weekend.
Byrne — who is presiding over the case after Judge Bert Rice recused himself Sept. 11 — granted the continuance after a motion by the state attorney general’s office, which is prosecuting the case.
The case was to have been tried beginning this week.
Terry Desmond Linam, 44, and his wife, Tracy Linam, 37, of 6045 Chapman Road in Atmore were both charged with three counts of aggravated child abuse, a Class B felony, and three counts of domestic violence, third degree, a Class A misdemeanor.
The case involves Linam’s children from a previous marriage. They allege physical abuse that is not of a sexual nature.
According to court papers, the children alleged several acts of abuse, including that their father and stepmother shoved them and made them take medication to help them sleep.
Rice recused himself from the criminal case on Sept. 11, granting a prosecution motion that stated Rice’s actions in court could give the appearance of partiality.
In court papers, prosecutors had said that Rice stated in court there was “no basis” for the child abuse charges.
The motion also noted that Rice, a former Atmore city judge, had worked closely with Atmore police in that role. An Atmore police officer is the ex-boyfriend of the victims’ mother and Terry Desmond Linam’s ex-wife, Marcie Linam.
In a recent custody case in civil court between Terry Desmond Linam and Marcie Linam, Rice ruled there was not enough evidence to support allegations of abuse raised by Marcie Linam.

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