‘That man scares me.’ Judge denies bail for man charged for stalking Mississippi mayor.
Published 5:50 am Thursday, July 7, 2022
Lafayette County Circuit Court judge Kent Smith denied bond and ordered a psychiatric evaluation for a local man charged with the aggravated stalking of Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill.
In a preliminary hearing, the court heard a case against Matt Reardon, 35, for violating a restraining order Robyn and Rhea Tannehill garnered in 2017.
In May 2017, Reardon was charged with stalking Tannehill and her husband, Rhea Tannehill. Reardon pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to leave Lafayette County for five years.
The restraining order specified that Reardon could not come within 500 feet of the Tannehills or Rhea Tannehill’s law firm, Tannehill, Carmean & McKenzie, PLLC located on North Lamar Boulevard.
Reardon violated the restraining order on June 20, when he visited Oxford City Hall — Mayor Robyn Tannehill’s place of work.
On June 28, Reardon was arrested by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations and charged with felony aggravated stalking.
In a Chancery Court hearing on June 30 at Calhoun County Courthouse, Lafayette County Chancery Court Judge Lawrence Little found Reardon in contempt of court for violating the protection order. According to witness testimony from Calhoun County Sheriff Greg Pollan, Reardon used expletives towards the Tannehills and repeatedly gave them the middle finger.
Pollan was one of eight witnesses Assistant District Attorney Tiffany Kilpatrick called to the stand for testimony on Reardon’s character and the potential danger he posed not only to the Tannehills and their family but the entire community. Among the witnesses included Lafayette County Sheriff Joey East who stated Reardon was “an absolute threat and has been a threat for a long time.”
The Tannehills also took the witness stand to give testimony on the June 20th incident and how they have handled the last five years.
Robyn Tannehill said her awareness of Reardon first began when she proposed a resolution to take down the state flag which displayed the Confederate symbol.
Reardon, a proponent of states rights and the South, was reportedly and would attend meetings with a holstered gun.
“I first became fearful of Mr. Reardon when he came to a board meeting in 2017 and he had a gun in his lap,” said Robyn Tannehill in the court hearing. “He glared at me and he pointed at me [with his finger] throughout the meeting.”
According to the mayor, when Reardon’s actions began to escalate the city introduced the idea of metal detectors at City Hall and new policies to ensure safety in courtrooms. East said they increased law enforcement presence in meetings when they knew Reardon would be present.
Reardon would go on to make multiple social media posts and videos about Tannehill calling her corrupt and a communist and Rhea an accomplice in her actions.
Robyn would later find out that Rhea defended Reardon’s ex-partner in a domestic violence case against Reardon. According to the Tannehills, Reardon’s posts would escalate in nature when it seemed that he lost visitation rights to his child, who he shared with the aforementioned partner.
According to Robyn, Reardon blames them for everything that went wrong in his life.
“He’s been fixated on me and my family for over five years and credited us irrationally on all the decisions he’s made personally in his life,” she said.
Robyn went on to account Reardon’s visit to City Hall on June 20 with great emotion.
Reardon also recorded a video of his visit and uploaded it to his YouTube channel, Lafayette County Audit.
The video displays Reardon entering the City Hall lobby, venturing around the first-floor lobby and talking with city employees before making his way up to the second floor where the mayor’s office is located.
According to Robyn Tannehill’s court testimony, photos and descriptions of Reardon were disseminated to City Hall employees for awareness. When Reardon entered the building, an employee on the first floor warned Tannehill and her assistant of his presence and they proceeded to hide from his view.
“I can’t really explain the fear I had that day knowing this monster was standing outside my door,” said Robyn. “My office is where it is because of Matt Reardon. I moved my office in 2017 because I was too accessible … I’ll just say it’s not fair to be scared sitting in my own office.”
The mayor then notified her husband of Reardon’s presence in the building and the Oxford Police Department was soon notified. Captain Donovan Lyons and Lieutenant Kevin Parker responded to the scene to apprehend Reardon and escort him away from City Hall.
The officers told Reardon that he was in violation of the restraining order and if he needed to visit City Hall, he could make an appointment. Reardon called the Tannehills’ restraining order into question, arguing its legitimacy but did not return to City Hall.
“I’m not scared of much but it really makes me mad that I have to sit here and admit that that man scares me,” said Robyn. “He scares me for me, he scares me for my family and he scares me for everybody in my office. It is not fair for these people to be scared at work. It’s not fair for me to worry about the safety of my family.”
“I’m tired of it,” she continued. “It’s time for something to be done.”
Upon the information given and witness testimony, Smith said he would deny Reardon bail and would require a psychiatric evaluation to attest that Reardon knows and appreciates the consequences of his actions, is competent to stand trial, and for the psychiatrist or counselor to evaluate his threat level and violent tendencies.
In an exercise of fairness, Smith asked Kilpatrick to make sure this case meets with the grand jury in August. Reardon’s defense attorney Mitchell Driskell III said they would attempt a “bill of information,” a waiver of indictment and agreement charging the defendant named with the commission of an indictable offense, made on oath and signed. The bill would be presented to the court by the district attorney, without action by the grand jury.
Smith gave Driskell approval to consider a bill of information in order to expedite the case.
“I’m just trying to avoid unnecessary or unreasonable delay for Mr. Reardon because, I don’t apologize for the ruling, but I think the ruling will hold,” said Smith. “Let’s let this matter be resolved as reasonably soon as possible.”