Prison time for Tabitha Gentry cut on appeal
Some sentences now concurrent
The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled that Tabitha Gentry should serve part of her sentences concurrently, effectively reducing her total time.
Gentry, 35, who identifies herself as a citizen of the Moorish American National Republic, had been sentenced to 20 years for the theft and burglary of an East Memphis mansion and 14 years for assault and evading arrest during a 2012 traffic stop.
She is appealing both sentences, and the appeals court ruled this week on the sentence for assault and evading arrest. Criminal Court Judge James Lammey had sentenced her to consecutive sentences of six years for each aggravated assault conviction and two years for the evading arrest conviction.
Her attorney, Claiborne Ferguson, appealed, arguing in part that her sentences should not run consecutively.
The appeals court agreed and said the trial court “improperly applied the dangerous offender classification when ordering consecutive sentences.” The ruling changes her total time from 34 years to 26 years.
Gentry was pulled over Oct. 9, 2012, by Memphis police officer Emmanuel Manzano for a headlight violation, according to the court opinion. She refused to provide identification and was talking on a phone with the car radio up.
“After repeated requests from Officer Manzano, the Defendant eventually provided him with a form of identification, which stated that she was a ‘sovereign citizen’ and which Officer Manzano described as ‘a weird I.D,’” the court wrote.
Manzano’s partner, Officer Patrick Meads, arrived, but Gentry refused to talk to them. Lieutenant Joseph Pearlman also arrived. The officers determined her license was suspended by running the car’s registration and the name it was registered to.
After the lieutenant got permission to break one of the car windows to unlock the car, Manzano and Meads tried to break the rear driver’s side window multiple times. Gentry then put the car in reverse and the officers had to jump away.
Meads was struck in his side by the rearview mirror.
She drove away, traveling “slightly above the speed limit” and running stop signs before stopping in a driveway, the appeals court wrote. After her arrest, she was “out of control,” kicking and screaming, according to the court opinion.
A jury convicted her of two counts of aggravated assault and one count of intentionally evading arrest in an automobile.
She was later sentenced to 20 years for the 2013 theft and burglary of a vacant, bank-owned mansion at 600 S. Shady Grove. She chained and locked the front gate and filed documents claiming rights to the property with the Shelby County Register’s Office, according to an affidavit.
She is appealing that conviction and the sentence to the appeals court. Lammey denied her a new trial in August.
Tabitha Gentry, who also goes by Abka Re Bey, sits in Judge James Lammey’s courtroom last month seeking a new trial after being convicted of theft and burglary in May.