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Houstons remain in jail for weekend

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By The Staff

By DAMON LAWRENCE

dlawrence@roanecounty.com

Rocky Houston was at the courthouse on Friday, but his attorney — Randy Rogers — wasn't.

Rogers' no-show prevented conditions for his client's release from being addressed, so Houston will be spending another weekend in jail. 

“This was as quick as I could address those matters, but if they're not in a position to be addressed — and Mr. Rogers isn't here — then we won't be addressing those matters,” Judge James “Buddy” Scott said.

Defense attorney James Logan, who represents Rocky's older brother, Leon Houston, told Scott that Rogers was dealing with a court case in another county and couldn't be in Roane County for the 1 p.m. hearing. Logan then sought to address some of the conditions of Rocky's release with Scott.

Special prosecutor Kenneth Irvine seemed baffled at Logan's attempt to represent someone else's client.  

“The state has no objection to Mr. Logan getting his client qualified and prepared to make bond if that's what he's intending, but I really don't understand how he's here trying to represent Mr. Rocky Houston,” Irvine said. “He can't represent both of them at the same time.”

Scott didn't allow Logan to play stand-in for Rogers.

“I know he asked you to do this as a favor to him,” Scott said. “But I believe when we left here (on Monday), my statement was the onus was on him, the burden was on him to set up a hearing for this purpose.”

The Houstons have been incarcerated on murder charges since May 2006, when a gunfight at Leon's Bernard Narrows Road home ended in the deaths of Roane County Sheriff's Deputy Bill Jones and his friend, Mike Brown. Brown, a former lawman, was on a ride-along with Jones at the time of the shooting.

Bonds for the brothers were originally set at $900,000, but Scott reduced the amount to $400,000 for Rocky and $302,000 for Leon. He also set more than a dozen conditions for their release. Chief among them is electronic monitoring, which will allow authorities to keep track of their whereabouts. Until the monitoring conditions are worked out, Scott said the brothers will have to remain in jail.

Logan said Rogers has been in contact with an agency that can provide monitoring for Rocky. Irvine told the judge Friday that he's not prepared to sign off on any agency that Rogers might be proposing.  

“I've not had an opportunity to either talk with the people that Mr. Rogers may be proposing to do the supervision,” Irvine said. “I don't have a name yet, even heard an agency that's doing that, so I can't comment on whether they're satisfactory or not.”

The brothers have been separately tried for the murders, and a jury failed to convict each time. Leon's July 2008 trial ended in a hung jury.

Rocky was acquitted of first-degree premeditated murder in the death of Brown at his trial in December. The jury also determined he was not guilty on several lesser charges. Scott ruled the verdicts on the lesser charges don't count because the jury failed to follow instructions.

For more on this story, read Monday's edition of the Roane County News.