Prosecutors claim Smoot MIA for over a month

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Actions show ‘complete lack of respect for the authority of the laws of Tennessee’

By Damon Lawrence

The whereabouts of murder defendant Shawn Smoot were unknown for more than a month, according to a motion filed by prosecutors on Monday.

Smoot was released from the Roane County Jail on March 26, 2013, after his parents posted a $250,000 cash bond.

Criminal Court Judge E. Eugene Eblen revoked the bond and issued a warrant for Smoot’s arrest on April 23, a day after he was charged with DUI in McMinn County.

The motion filed by prosecutors seeks to permanently revoke his bond.

“The defendant, who has now absconded from the jurisdiction of this court and the state of Tennessee twice in less than two years, has no ties to the local community, either through family or employment, and should, most certainly, and continually, be classified as a flight risk,” the motion said.

The officer who arrested Smoot in McMinn County said there was several empty liquor bottles found in Smoot’s car.

Smoot was also charged with resisting arrest and violation of implied consent in the incident.

“The defendant provided McMinn County law enforcement officers with a fake, or otherwise previously unreported, home address of 360 Hwy. 64, Ocoee, Tenn.,” the motion said.

“Nevertheless, the defendant was given a $2,000 bond and released on his own recognizance.”

U.S. Marshals assisted in the search for Smoot after his bond in the murder case was revoked.

“On or about May 5, 2014, the District Attorney General’s Office received information from a confidential source that the defendant may be located at a healthcare facility within the state of Tennessee,” the motion said. “The U.S. Marshal Service contacted the defendant’s mother, Jane B. Smoot, via telephone to confirm the information.”

The motion said Smoot’s mother “declined to confirm or advise” of his whereabouts, but did refer authorities to his attorney, Tom Slaughter.

“The same day, May 5, 2014, at the behest of the District Attorney General’s Office, Mr. Slaughter confirmed the defendant was at a healthcare facility in/near Chattanooga,” the motion said.

The District Attorney General’s Office said marshals took Smoot into custody at Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute on May 6 and turned him over to Roane County deputies.

They drove him back to Kingston, where he remains in custody at the Roane County Jail.

“The defendant’s whereabouts and activities from March 28, 2014 to May 5, 2014 are unknown,” the motion said.

Prosecutors want Smoot held without bond until his case is over.

They are also asking that his parents, who live in Georgia, forfeit the $250,000 bond they posted to get him out of jail.

A hearing on the motion has not been set.

Smoot is charged with first-degree murder in the Oct. 15, 2011 death, of Brooke Nicole Morris.

Her body was found at the intersection of Blair Road and Old Blair Road.

Police said she had been shot in the head.

The conditions of release that Smoot signed on March 26, 2013, required him to “maintain good behavior” and “report bi-monthly” to the state probation office in Kingston.

The motion said Smoot relocated from the Corryton area of Knox County to Cleveland on March 28 without the consent or knowledge of his state probation officer.

“On or about April 1, 2014, the defendant provided the address of 111 Durkee Road, Apt. 59, Cleveland, Tenn. 37323, to the state probation officer assigned to monitor the defendant on pre-trial release,” the motion said.

“As confirmed by Constable Duane Hicks on April 24, 2014, this address is a vacant building.”

The motion said Smoot provided another address on April 14 – 128 Hwy. 64, Ocoee, Tenn. – that turned out to be a “non-existent address.”

“The unilateral decisions and wanton actions by the defendant demonstrate a knowing and willful failure to abide by this court’s conditions of release, and show defendant’s complete lack of respect for the authority of the laws of Tennessee, as well as the authority, jurisdiction, and orders of this court,” the motion said.