Houston land will help poor

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Lawyer donates to Habitat for Humanity

By Damon Lawrence

Roane County Habitat for Humanity now owns some of the property that Rocky and Leon Houston lost in foreclosure.

On March 12, 2009, the brothers and other members of the Houston family signed a deed of trust on four tracts of land that named Cleveland attorney James Logan as the beneficiary.

The property was used to secure attorney fees and expenses for Logan.

Logan successfully defended Leon Houston against first-degree murder charges in the shooting deaths of Roane County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Jones and his ride-along friend, former lawman Mike Brown.

Logan foreclosed on the property after Leon Houston defaulted on their agreement.

Logan purchased three of the tracts for $150,000 at a foreclosure sale on the steps of the Roane County Courthouse on Jan. 4, 2011.

On Dec. 31, 2012, Logan donated two of the tracts to Roane County Habitat for Humanity.

The quit-claim deed was filed in the Roane County Register of Deeds Office last October. The two tracts, which total around 75 acres, was valued at $296,000.

“However, there is no consideration as this is a gift and quitclaim of the property,” the deed said.

The property is located South of the River on Dogtown Road.

This past November Leon Houston was convicted in federal court of threatening to kill Logan via interstate communication lines.

He was sentenced to five years in federal prison on Tuesday.

Leon Houston went to trial twice on the murder charges.

The first trial ended in a hung jury. He was acquitted by the jury in the second trial.

At the federal sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Logan testified that his price for representing Leon Houston on the murder charges was in excess of $200,000.

He said only $85,000 of that amount had been paid.

After the foreclosure sale, Logan said he and his wife decided that they would not try to profit off the property.

“It has been our decision to give it to the people of Roane County who could not afford homes,” he said.