New Tennessee Justice Center May Host Prominent Murder Case

By Lisa Kopochinski

DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn.—If the completion date of the Dickson County Justice Center in Charlotte, Tenn., stays on target for August 2020, the new courtroom could be the location for the Steven Wiggins trial and Erika Castro-Miles trial. Both suspects were charged with first-degree murder in the death of Sgt. Daniel Baker in May 2018, and have trials tentatively scheduled for that month. 

A project update was provided by Dickson County Mayor Bob Rial at a recent commission meeting about the $25 million justice center, which will neighbor the Charlotte Square on Highway 49.

“They have moved a lot of dirt out there,” said Rial. “It’s going to start moving pretty fast to put a building up that quick. Especially one that complicated.”

Rial said he spoke with all the department leaders in the county offices when they first voted on this project in 2010. One of the top two requests he heard—particularly from the court clerks—was the need “to build a justice center.”

“The main reason for that was because our judicial center was at or above capacity,” he explained.

The mayor also emphasized that the estimated cost increase to run the new justice center will be $100,000 annually.

Ben Eberle, vice president of project construction manager T.W. Frierson, presented a breakdown of the project budget with $23 million in construction costs and an estimated $2 million in “soft costs.” Those include about $1.2 million in architect and engineering fees.

“That’s very aggressive but I think it can be done,” he said.

Nashville-based Hart Freeland Roberts is the architect on this project. HFR worked previously with the county on renovation and additions to the Dickson County Jail, including 267 beds, a new booking area, program/community room, and a medical unit.