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No suppression for Leon Houston statements

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By Damon Lawrence

A federal magistrate is recommending that Leon Houston’s suppression motions be denied.
Houston is charged in U.S. District Court with possession of a firearm while being an unlawful user of a controlled substance and using a telephone to threaten to kill attorney James Logan.
He allegedly admitted to “getting high” and smoking “wacky tobacco” when he was questioned by law enforcement agents on Jan. 11.
Houston claimed the agents had no right to be on his property and that his alleged statements should be suppressed.
U.S. Magistrate C. Clifford Shirley Jr. disagreed.  
“The court finds that the defendant was legally seized and detained and that his subsequent statements are not subject to suppression,” Shirley said in a report and recommendation issued last week.
Houston also claims that evidence obtained from a pole camera should be suppressed. Shirley disagreed with that as well.
The pole camera was installed on a public utility pole on Dogtown Road last October as part of an investigation into Houston’s brother, Rocky Houston.
Law enforcement didn’t get a warrant to install the camera.
“After carefully considering the evidence, the parties’ filings and arguments, and the relevant legal authorities, the court finds that the warrantless use of a pole camera to continuously observe unobstructed curtilage on the defendant’s property for a period of ten weeks violates the Fourth Amendment,” Shirley said.
“However, the court finds that the agents who installed and monitored the pole camera without a search warrant acted in good faith and, thus, the exclusionary rule should not be applied in this case.”
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Rockwood police have charged two men with an alleged break-in on West Dunn Street.
Jamie Wells told police she was in bed around 10:40 p.m. on June 5 when an unknown man tried to climb in her bedroom window. Wells reportedly tussled with the suspect, who fled on foot.
Jonathan David Cofer, 24, and Johnny Frank Cargile, 43, have been charged with aggravated burglary in the incident.
According to an arrest warrant, Wells told police she saw Cargile running with the man who tried to break into her house.
Another witness told police she saw Cargile and Cofer running from the direction of West Dunn Street the night of the incident.
“She could see that Mr. Cofer was wearing a black hoodie,” the warrant said. “Both subjects entered 164 Evans Heights, where Mr. Cofer has been residing.”
Cofer also faces burglary charges for allegedly stealing items from a car and a shed on June 4.
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A $2,000 radio was stolen from a Roane County animal control truck this month, according to a Rockwood police report.
“I responded to call of a auto burglary at the Roane County Animal Shelter,” Rockwood officer Randy Keahey said in a report dated June 10.
Keahey said he met at the shelter with Animal Control Director John Griffin, who “stated that he went out to the animal control truck and found that the county-owned radio had been stolen.
“He stated that the truck was unlocked. No forcible entry related damage was observed.”
Keahey said he contacted the E-911 dispatch center about the theft because the radio contains law enforcement channels.
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The next hearing in Tyler Farmer’s drug-dealing case is scheduled for Aug. 9.
Farmer, son of former Roane County executive Mike Farmer, faces three counts of selling suboxone and oxycodone in a school zone.