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Nashville attorney seeking to help prosecute Houstons

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By The Staff

By DAMON LAWRENCE

rclawrence@bellsouth.net

Nashville lawyer Dan Warlick left little doubt about his discontent of Leon and Rocky Houston.

When asked did he have any malice against the brothers, Warlick had a long pause before offering the following answer Thursday from the witness stand:

“Believing what I know about this case, I do not like these two individuals,” he said.

Special prosecutor Robert “Gus” Radford hired Warlick, a private attorney, to assist in the prosecution of the Houston brothers.

Defense lawyers are seeking to have him disqualified, contending his involvement in the case as a district attorney general pro tempore is less than honorable.

Warlick maintained that his lone motive is to seek justice for the two men the brothers are accused of killing.

However, some interesting facts were revealed about him during questioning by defense attorney James Logan.

Warlick was raised in Roane County and testified that he still has family here whom he visits often.

He also testified that he’s currently defending a client in a criminal case in which Radford is the prosecutor.

Randy Rogers, the attorney representing Rocky Houston, suggested there is a quid pro quo between Warlick and Radford.

Rogers asked Warlick if Radford agreed to go easy on him in the criminal case in exchange for his help in the Houston case.

Warlick denied the assertion and said his client in the criminal case is aware of the situation.

Early on in Thursday’s proceeding Judge James “Buddy” Scott admonished Rocky for speaking out loud.

Scott also briefly had Leon removed from the courtroom for communicating across the defense table with his brother.

Rocky and Leon are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony murder.

They are accused of killing Roane County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Jones and his friend, Mike Brown, on May 11, 2006.

Brown was on a ride-along with Jones when they were shot to death South of the River outside Leon’s home. Both brothers have pleaded not guilty.

Warlick is a sometimes flamboyant attorney who has defended some high-profile cases before the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners. His expertise in that area could be a big factor when forensic evidence is discussed in the trial.

Defense lawyers also tried to argue whether Radford had the legal authority to hire Warlick as a special prosecutor.

James Kirby, the executive director of the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference, testified on be-half of the state. Kirby said he believes it is totally appropriate for Radford to hire Warlick.

Scott did not rule on the defense motions to disqualify Warlick. He took the matter under advisement and will issue a ruling at a later date.

He did deny defense motions to have himself and Radford recused.

The tentative start date for the trial is still July 14. There could be plenty more pretrial hearings before then.

“We’re all just working hard to try to resolve all these issues,” Rogers said. “I just look forward to the day we can get it all resolved.”