- Special Sections
- Public Notices
By TERRI LIKENS
The barrage of bullets in a May 11, 2006, shootout between Rocky and Leon Houston and two men in a police cruiser probably ended in a matter of seconds, according to witnesses.
But at Rocky's first-degree murder trial in the shooting deaths of Roane County Deputy Bill Jones and his ride-along friend Mike Brown, discussion of those bullets — and the guns that fired them — has been the subject of many hours of testimony.
Daniel Royse, a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation expert who investigated the shooting scene at Leon Houston's house on Barnard Narrows Road, was on the stand for his third day Wednesday.
At the direction of Randy Rogers, Rocky's lawyer, he took the weapons used in the shootout by Jones and Brown and demonstrated their use. Checking first to make sure they were clear of ammunition, Royse aimed at the ceiling and pulled the trigger.
Jones' handgun, a recoil-loading .357 SIG, clicked once and was silent for a few seconds until Royse quietly said, “15,” indicating the number of rounds in the gun's magazine that would have been spent.
Brown's handgun, a double-action, 9-mm Ruger handgun, actually clicked off each trigger pull during the demonstration.
While much of the evidence in this phase of the trial has been abstract — slideshows and diagrams discussed with laser pointers and a yard stick — one bit of evidence presented Wednesday morning was very tangible.
It was the actual remains of a bullet that was pulled from Rocky's abdomen.
Royse confirmed for Rogers that it was consistent with a round fired from Jones' weapon.
Rogers, a folksy man with a handlebar mustache, also asked detailed questions about the shooting scene, often beginning his inquiries with the statement, “Well, let me ask you this.”
Rogers asked about a line of bullets fired across the porch in the front of the house, and also about rounds — believed to have been shot by Brown — that were pulled from a tree.
He also questioned Royse about a piece of jewelry found on the floorboard at Jones' feet in the police cruiser.
Royse said it appeared to be a wedding band.
“I never took my rings off to shoot,” the TBI expert said. “I don't know anybody who does.”