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By JENNIFER RAYMOND
Houston brothers Leon and Rocky have a history of being close, but that didn’t sway a judge this week on their request to be tried together for murder.
The Houstons were at the Roane County Courthouse Tuesday on a variety of motions — including one to retry Leon when Rocky is tried for murder in November.
Both men are charged with first-degree murder in the 2006 shooting deaths of Roane County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Jones and his friend and ride-along passenger Mike Brown.
Leon was tried for the charges in July, but after the two-week trial, the jury could not come to an agreement. As a result of the hung jury, a mistrial was declared by Judge James “Buddy” Scott.
Leon’s attorney, Jim Logan, asked Scott for a judgment by acquittal on the first-degree murder charges.
Scott denied that and Logan’s request to have Leon’s bond reduced from $950,000.
“It’s been our position that Mr. Leon Houston was acting in self defense and in the defense of his brother,” Logan said. “There’s no evidence or jury findings to support premeditation.”
During the trial, prosecutors contended that the Houstons ambushed Brown and Jones outside Leon Houston’s home on Barnard Narrows Road.
The defense claimed that the brothers were only acting in self defense.
One thing that could be agreed on was that all four men fired shots, and Leon Houston did not fire any of the fatal shots.
Scott also denied Logan’s request that this time the brothers be tried together when Rocky goes to trial on Nov. 10. Scott told Rocky that trial date will hold firm.
For Leon’s second trial, Scott set a March 9 court date for next year.
Scott did approve a request by Leon’s second attorney, Jennifer Hinkebein Culotta, to withdraw from the case.