SHELBYVILLE, TN –  For sure,  there is a lot of “forgiveness” in the Baptist Church, but there’s an equal amount (or more)  “forgiveness” in the sore Big Lick Horse Tennessee Walking Horse bidness, too.

Dean Byard is living proof that you can be banned for transgressions,  then come back and be selected  by the Walking Horse Trainer Boyz to judge  one of the top venues in the Big Lick Tennessee Walking Horse World – the 46th Annual  National Trainer’s Show.


Byard was announced as one of the three Judges for the 2014 National Trainers Show which will held be at Calsonic Area at the Celebration grounds on March 13 – 15. In 2013,  Byard also judged the prestigious Gulf Coast Charity Trainers in Panama City, Florida, and the East Tennessee Walking Horse Trainers Show in White Pine, Tennessee.

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Dean Byard is pictured here with Ex PSHA Chairman Terry Dotson.*

Byard has a colorful history.  He  can empathize with Johnny Cash when The Man In Black sings “Folsum Prison Blues”.  Byard knows what it is to walk that path.  Dean Byard ran afoul of the law back in the 1980s and 1990s and he ended up spending some time in the Tennessee correctional system.


Assigned on Briefs July 18, 2001


Direct Appeal from the Criminal Court for Davidson County No. 99-C-1782 Seth W. Norman, Judge

No. M2000-01410-CCA-R3-CD – Filed November 27, 2001

Defendant appeals from a bench trial where he was found guilty of one count of assault and one count of aggravated assault. Sufficient evidence exists to support the conviction of aggravated assault. The ineffective assistance of counsel claim is wholly unsubstantiated. We affirm the judgments from the trial court.

Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right;

Judgments of the Criminal Court Affirmed

JOHN EVERETT WILLIAMS, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which GARY R. WADE, P.J., and JOSEPH M. TIPTON, J., joined.

Sam E. Wallace, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Dean Byard.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Lisa Angela Naylor, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Defendant, Dean Byard, waived his right to trial by a jury and proceeded with a bench trial. The trial judge found defendant guilty of one count of assault of Patricia Haley and imposed a sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days. Defendant was also found guilty of one count of aggravated assault of Glenda Bryson, was sentenced to three years, and was placed in a community corrections program. The sentences were ordered to be served concurrently. Defendant did not submit a motion for new trial to the trial court. Rather, he submits his issues for appeal to this court on direct review and requests a new trial. Defendant correctly points out that the motion for a new trial is not necessary when the trial was had before a judge without intervention of a jury, as is the case here. United States v. DeCoster, 159 U.S. App. D.C. 326, 487 F.2d 1197 (1973); Baxter v. Rose, 523 S.W.2d 930 (Tenn. 1975). Defendant contends (1)that insufficient evidence exists to support his conviction of aggravated assault and (2) that he received ineffective assistance of counsel.


The trial proceedings reveal that defendant and Ms. Patty Haley were married on September 6, 1997, and divorced on September 10, 1999. The parties were separated during 1998. According to Ms. Haley’s testimony, on July 18, 1998, the parties met in the parking lot of Christ Church on Old Hickory Boulevard in Nashville. Ms. Haley agreed to meet with defendant to discuss reconciling. She further testified that when she tried to leave, defendant grabbed her arm, jerked her around, and then grabbed her neck. She also stated that as he pulled her, she fell to the ground. She finally was able to get up and use her cell telephone to call Ms. Glenda Bryson. Ms. Haley testified that at this time defendant grabbed Ms. Haley’s cell telephone from her. Ms. Haley then ran into the church and called the police from the youth minister’s office.

Ms. Bryson testified that when she received the telephone call from Ms. Haley, Ms. Haley was acting hysterical and claimed that defendant was beating her. At that time, Ms. Bryson hung up and called 9-1-1, requesting that police be sent to the church. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Bryson also drove to the church. She testified that as she got about halfway up the entrance of the church, she saw defendant sitting in his truck. She testified that defendant started coming toward her really fast in his truck, and it seemed he was not going to stop. Ms. Bryson stated that she was afraid defendant was going to hit her while driving his truck. She put her car in reverse, backed out into two lanes of traffic without even looking, and pulled into another entrance that went up behind the church. She then drove behind the church and made a second 9-1-1 call. Ms. Bryson also testified that she did not notice if defendant followed her or proceeded out of the exit of the church and away from the church.

Defendant testified that upon meeting Ms. Haley at Christ Church, she asked him for money. Defendant stated that upon his refusal, Ms. Haley “just went crazy” and “started throwing a fit.” He further stated that he asked her to calm down and held her hand. He then released her hand and she ran inside the church. He claimed he did not strike Ms. Haley or choke her, and that she had her cell telephone when she ran inside the church. He admitted that he grabbed Ms. Haley’s wrist because she was “throwing a fit and hollering and screaming.” He said he was trying to calm her down. He also claimed that Ms. Haley did not use her cell telephone to call anyone. Lastly, defendant testified that after Ms. Haley ran inside the church, defendant left the church, and that he did not see Ms. Bryson. He further denied that he ever drove toward Ms. Bryson as she drove up the entrance to the church.

Defendant was asked on cross-examination if he should be believed. Defendant stated that he was telling the truth. When asked if he always told the truth, he replied, “[w]ell, I try to.” He admitted that he was convicted on November 20, 1998, of theft of property between $1,000 and $10,000. He also admitted that he was convicted on August 15, 1991, of forgery. However, he did not recall being convicted in February of 1998 of fraudulent breach of trust. All of these convictions are reflected in his criminal record.

Stan Mitchell, the associate pastor of Christ Church, testified that on the day in question, the youth pastor brought Ms. Haley to his office. Ms. Haley told Mr. Mitchell that she and defendant had an argument in the church parking lot. Mr. Mitchell stated that Ms. Haley claimed defendant grabbed her forcefully; however, Mr. Mitchell did not observe any fingerprints or bruises on Ms. Haley’s neck. Mr. Mitchell also testified that several days after the day of the alleged incident, he had a conversation with defendant. At that time defendant denied attempting to choke Ms. Haley, but stated that he had grabbed her by the shoulders and might have grabbed her about the neck because, as Mr. Mitchell stated, they were in a “flammatory argument.” Mitchell also stated that he did not remember Ms. Bryson coming into his office, and that Ms. Haley had been in the youth minister’s office prior to being in Mr. Mitchell’s office.”

Byard appealed his case, and one of the issues was use of a prior criminal conviction to impeach his testimony in the aggravated assault case.

“Defendant also asserts that counsel should have objected to the State’s use of a previous conviction for the purpose of impeachment. During the pre-trial discovery phase, the State responded to defendant’s request for discovery and filed a written notice of its intent to use defendant’s prior convictions for impeachment purposes. Subsequently, the State gave specific notice pursuant to Tennessee Rules of Evidence 609 and 405 concerning only one prior conviction for theft of property between $1,000-$10,000 on November 20, 1998.

At trial, defendant was asked if he always told the truth. Defendant answered, “[w]ell, I try.” The State then proceeded to impeach defendant with the November 1998 conviction for theft and two other convictions for forgery and fraudulent breach of trust, both of which are reflected in defendant’s criminal record. Defendant contends that the convictions of forgery and fraudulent breach of trust may not be used for impeachment purposes. We disagree.”

During this time of intense public scrutiny,  the WHTA Boyz selected Dean Byard to judge its Association’s annual hallmark Horse Show.  It is noteworthy that the  former WHTA  Boyz Ethics Committee Chairman Larry Joe Wheelon is now facing justice in Blount County, Tennessee  on an 18 count charge of aggravated cruelty to animals .  Wheelon is afforded the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.



 There’s a lot more coming on the antics and drama of the  Walking Horse Trainer Boyz in the days ahead.


 *    Terry Dotson met with U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on March 30, 2013  along with Jeffrey Howard, Mickey McCormick and lobbyist Jeff Speaks.   Dotson assured Secretary Vilsack that he and PSHA would  “clean up and stop soring”.  Then Dotson got two horses turned down as sore on the first night of the 2013 Celebration.  And Dotson proceeded to get into it with a USDA VMO in the inspection area.  A few days later, Dotson resigned as PSHA Chairman, and left during the middle of the Celebration.  It’s ironic that the same people meeting with Vilsack on March 30, 2013 were wearing six ounce chain necklaces and lobbying on Capitol Hill this week against the PAST ACT.    Dotson still serves on the PSHA Board.