May 15, 2019 – Zachary Damien Key pleaded guilty to several charges in Sequatchie County Circuit Court Monday, May 13, and was given six years Judicial Diversion.
Initially Key was arrested March 9, 2018, by the Dunlap Police Department, when threats he made on social media to “shoot up the school” led to a lockdown of Sequatchie County schools. Officers located Key at a local business the same day.
The former Sequatchie County High School student, who was 19 at the time, was taken in for questioning. Ultimately, Key also was charged with rape when girls in their early teens told police he had had sexual relations with them.
The most serious charge was rape/sexual battery for an incident with a 13-year-old girl, according to Detective Jody Lockhart, of the Sequatchie County Sheriff's Department (SCSD). Additional charges were: Statutory rape (3 counts), statutory rape (2 counts), and false reports.
In consultation with the victims and their families, and with the agreement of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), the District Attorney's Office decided reach this plea deal with Key.
With Judicial Diversion, Key will be on probation for six years, and during that time he will be listed as a Sexual Offender. If he completes the six years' probation satisfactorily, his record will be expunged and his name removed from the Sex Offenders List.
Other cases in which Judge Justin Angel accepted guilty pleas Monday included:
- Jack D. Sexton, charged with DUI, felony possession Schedule II drugs, felony possession Sched. IV, felony possession Sched. VI, simple possession Sched. II, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
- Jeffery A. Stewart, aggravated rape and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Cases dismissed were:
- Chad Johnson, domestic assault (2 counts).
- Weldon Waters, DUI and implied consent.
Paul Coffman, Jr., who is charged with 1st degree murder in the death of Logan Lepard last September was given a next court date of June 20 / June 28.