Team 10: Man with extensive criminal history in Nashville put on bus, sent to San Diego

Calif. taxpayers to pay to send him to prison
Posted at 10:58 PM, Nov 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-15 11:20:20-05

SAN DIEGO - Samuel Lee Partin knows what life is like inside county jail cells. He's also spent time in prison in his home state of Tennessee, but now he's California's problem.

Partin, who also goes by the alias Patrin, is being held in the Vista Jail while he awaits sentencing for robbing a Hillcrest bank in August -- a robbery he committed just eight days after he got out of a California prison.

This time, Partin could get as much as 15 years in prison.

Team 10 has learned Partin was arrested so many times by Nashville police that they added his name to their "Chronic Offender List." The list shows Partin was arrested 23 times in 2014.

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Days after his last arrest in January 2015, Partin was given a one-way bus ticket to San Diego. It didn't take long for him to find himself in trouble with the law again.

Partin's rap sheet

Most of Partin's crimes, which date back to January 1986, are nuisance misdemeanors, like trespassing, public intoxication and petty theft. However, there are at least 4 DUIs, several charges of domestic violence, including an aggravated assault, and an armed robbery.

Documents obtained from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation show Partin was arrested 87 times between 1986 and January 2015. He spent a lot of time in jail, and did at least three stints in Tennessee prison.

His last arrest came just days before he was given a one-way bus ticket to San Diego.

Ticket to San Diego

Partin's bus ticket cost $261.50. The receipt, dated February 2, 2015, is stamped with the name of a Nashville agency called Homeward Bound. Investigators at Team 10's sister station in Nashville, WTVF, learned the agency that has oversight of the Homeward Bound program is the Nashville Downtown Partnership (NDP), a group dedicated to making the city a great place to do business.

That sometimes means working to get homeless people off the streets.

"We have a social service outreach worker who works with people who appear to be in need of services," said NDP President & CEO Tom Turner.

Turner explained the social worker helps people "make connections" to different cities, whether it be for a new job or to stay with family members. Turner told WTVF the social worker calls to verify the connection before putting a person in need on a bus.

Turner said more than half of the people helped by NDP have no criminal records, but that was not the case with Partin.

Arrival in San Diego

There are no records that show Partin had a place to stay or a job when his Greyhound bus pulled into San Diego on February 4, 2015.

It didn't take long for him to find himself in trouble with the law.

On May 18, 2015, just three months after setting foot on California soil, he was arrested in Vista on a felony charge of making criminal threats. Court documents show Partin pleaded guilty. The plea form says Partin "threatened to cause great bodily injury or death to another which caused that person to be in immediate and sustained fear of his safety."

Partin was sentences to 16 months in a California prison, making Tennessee's problem California's.

The bank robbery

Partin was released from prison July 26, 2016, but eight days later, he passed a note to a teller at a U.S. Bank branch in Hillcrest. Moments later, he ran from the bank with a bag full of money. Partin hid from police in the bushes in front of a home less than a block from the bank, and that's where Steve Norat found him as he was walking to the store.

"He was cowered down in the bushes," Norat recalled. "He did not look like a stable human being."

At the time, Norat had no idea Partin's ticket to San Diego had been bought and paid for by an agency in Nashville.

"It's outrageous," Norat said. "It angers me, and as a citizen, you feel kind of helpless."

Norat said he's heard of other cities shipping out their homeless, but at least they weren't criminals.

"I think San Diego should sue Nashville," he added.

The price tag

When Partin is sentenced later this month, he's expected to get between 9 and 15 years in prison, and California taxpayers will foot the bill.

The average cost to house a prisoner is $64,000.