Court date moved for suspected rapist
Posted: Friday, December 4, 2009 9:00 pm
By CHRIS MENEES
Messenger Staff Reporter
A report date for an alleged serial rapist has been moved up from January to next week.
The next court appearance for Bruce Tuck, 36, of Gleason had been scheduled for Jan. 5 in Weakley County Circuit Court, but the action has now been rescheduled for Thursday.
District Attorney General Tommy Thomas said the attorneys in the case agreed to move the report date to next week. He said at that time, Tuck will have the opportunity to either plead guilty or have the case set for trial.
“We are trying to accelerate the process so we can resolve this matter and get it closed,” Thomas said, noting that Tuck had also returned early from a court-ordered mental evaluation last month.
Thomas would not confirm any reports that a plea might be entered in the case.
The hearing will begin about 9:30 a.m. Thursday in a courtroom at the Weakley County Courthouse in Dresden, according to Weakley County Circuit Court Clerk Pam Bellew.
In a surprise phone call to The Weakley County Press on Nov. 24, Tuck had expressed his sympathy to the assault victims and their families and indicated he hoped his court hearing could be moved up to give the victims “closure.” He also told the newspaper he did not have a profession of guilt or innocence and could not make comments regarding the case.
Tuck was arrested Sept. 2 at his parents’ home in Gleason after DNA evidence linked him to an alleged sexual assault on Raven Street in Martin Aug. 30. He is accused of holding three people at gunpoint and raping a University of Tennessee at Martin student.
Other home invasion sexual assaults had also been reported in Martin and in Shelby County throughout the summer months. Those cases prompted a massive search by Martin, Weakley County and Shelby County law enforcement agencies, as well as the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, for a suspect described as having a pot belly and wearing a mask.
During the execution of a search warrant at a rental storage unit that reportedly had ties to Tuck, investigators allegedly found a mask similar to the one used during the attacks.
Twelve felony charges were initially levied against Tuck for the Aug. 30 incident on Raven Street in Martin. During a special session of the Weakley County grand jury Nov. 2, he was indicted on 10 additional felony counts that stemmed from two other alleged home invasion sexual assaults in Martin during the summer.
Tuck’s felony charges range from six counts of Class A felony aggravated rape to five counts of Class A felony especially aggravated kidnapping to Class B felony aggravated sexual battery.
He was arraigned on the charges and on Nov. 5 was ordered by the court to undergo an immediate mental evaluation at a Middle Tennessee facility. He was returned to the Weakley County Detention Center on Nov. 23.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 12.4.09