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Rocky Houston release looms

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By The Staff

By DAMON LAWRENCE

dlawrence@roanecounty.com

Rocky Houston now has something new in common with his brother.

Both no longer have to face murder charges for the deaths of Roane County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Jones and his ride-along passenger Mike Brown.

Leon Houston was acquitted in November on all charges in the deaths of the two men.

The Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that the state is prohibited from trying Rocky again for the murders because Judge James “Buddy” Scott improperly dismissed the jury in his December 2008 trial.

The state had the option to contest the decision by the Court of Criminal Appeals, but chose not to.

The appeals court rendered its decision on March 3. The state had 60 days to file an appeal. Joanne Newsome, the chief deputy clerk for the Tennessee Appellate Court Clerk’s Office in Knoxville, said her office never received anything from the state.

Authorities didn’t release Rocky when the decision was handed down in March.

Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton said Rocky was still incarcerated Thursday morning, even though the deadline for the state to appeal had lapsed. 

“We’re waiting for an order from the court to release him like we have in the beginning,” Stockton said.

“As soon as we get the mandate from the court to release him, we’ll let him go. He’s surely going to get out sometime in the next few days. We expect it any day.”

If Rocky does get out, it may not be for long. He was convicted in April of evading arrest and reckless endangerment in an unrelated case that stemmed from a 2004 chase with police.

His sentencing in that case is scheduled for May 18.

Rocky faces up to 12 years in prison on the evading-arrest conviction.