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Court records: Tenn. magistrate who changed baby's name originally ruled to keep 'Messiah'

Court records filed after a Tennessee magistrate changed a baby's first name from Messiah to Martin indicate that she first ruled to keep the original name.

According to a brief filed Friday in Cocke County Chancery Court, Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew held a paternity hearing July 22 for Messiah Martin. The boy's father wanted Messiah's last name changed to McCullough to match his. In court, the magistrate ruled the child's name would remain Messiah Martin.

But according to the brief, the magistrate's original written findings on the name were "whited out" in the court record. The magistrate then called a second hearing where she changed the child's name to Martin McCullough, saying, "'Messiah' is a title that is held only by Jesus Christ."

The appeal hearing is Wednesday.

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