- Special Sections
- Public Notices
By DAMON LAWRENCE
Jury selection started in Leon Houston's murder trial on Monday, and doing the questioning for Houston is attorney James Logan.
Houston fired Logan in July but asked that he be allowed back on the case Monday morning. Special prosecutor Kenneth Irvine objected, but Special Judge David Hayes allowed Logan to return.
“I recognize Mr. Houston's Sixth Amendment right to counsel,” Hayes said. “I find that paramount under the circumstances. Therefore I'll grant his motion permitting Mr. Logan to enter at this point.”
Houston is facing two counts of first-degree premeditated murder and one count of felony murder for the deaths of Mike Brown and Roane County Sheriff's Deputy Bill Jones.
Brown, a former lawman, was on a ride-along with Jones when they died in a shootout with Houston and his younger brother, Rocky Houston, on May 11, 2006.
Logan represented Leon in his July 2008 trial, which ended in a hung jury. This past summer Leon accused Logan of being ineffective counsel and claimed he was a material witness in the case because he could testify about insurance fraud.
Logan had Leon acknowledge from the witness stand on Monday that he would not be testifying on his behalf.
“Do you understand that by asking me to re-enter this case, that I will not be a witness in this case in any way, shape, form or fashion?” Logan asked.
“ Yes, sir,” Leon responded.
Hayes quashed subpoenas that Leon issued for Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and U.S. Judge Curtis L. Collier. Leon also acknowledged that he knows Logan will not be pursuing those matters on his behalf.
Logan has a $350,000 lien against property owned by the Houston family. Leon and Rocky said that lien was preventing Leon from hiring another attorney.
Hayes said 12 jurors and three alternates will be selected to hear the case. Hayes said the trial could last about two weeks. The jurors and the alternates will be sequestered.