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Today's News

  • 'Violence doesn't solve anything'

    By CINDY SIMPSON

    rccindysimpson@bellsouth.net

    A former Harriman woman was lucky that it took longer than usual to make her trek to church Sunday.

    Sara Pierce, a senior English major at the University of Tennessee, was late for services at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church near the university.

    That’s where police say Jim David Adkisson, also a former Harriman native, injured several and took the lives of two members during the morning services as children performed a play.

  • Officials face lawsuit in inmate's death

    By CINDY SIMPSON

    rccindysimpson@bellsouth.net

    A lawsuit against the Roane County Jail and county officials in the 2000 death of an inmate has been cleared to go to trial.

    A federal appeals court ruled Friday that correctional officers, paramedic Duranda Tipton and Dr. Thomas Boduch can all be held liable in the death of 29-year-old Sonya Denise Phillips.

    Phillips was in the Roane County Jail awaiting trial on charges of first-degree murder in the death of her infant child.

  • Retrial planned in Leon Houston case

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    The dry piece of tissue Eva Yates clutched in her hand told the story.

    “I had my crying towel out, but I didn't have to use it,” Yates said as she left the Roane County Courthouse on Sunday.

    Yates had just learned the jury deliberating the fate of her nephew, Leon Houston, was hopelessly deadlocked. Judge James “Buddy” Scott declared a mistrial in the case.

    “I'm pleased with it,” Yates said of the outcome.

  • JULY 25: Jurors to deliberate Saturday

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    In his closing arguments Friday, special prosecutor Robert "Gus" Radford called two defense witnesses liars in the Houston double murder case.

    Radford gave a rundown of the testimony as he tried to convince a Roane County jury to convict Leon Houston on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony murder. The jury will start deliberations on Saturday.

  • Christopher weighing future

    By GOOSE LINDSAY

    rcsports@bellsouth.net

    The game of basketball has always been easy for Oliver Springs’ Kayla Christopher.

    However, deciding where to play college hoops has been anything but easy for the Lady ’Cat star.

    Entering her senior season, Christopher is ranked among the top players in the state — if not the nation — and that talent has a number of Division I schools courting for her services.

  • JULY 24: Leon Houston's fate soon to be in jury's hands

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    Tobey Yates is not a fan of local law enforcement.

    “I've had a lot of trouble with them myself,” Yates told special prosecutor Robert "Gus" Radford Thursday afternoon.

    Radford sought to use Yates' admitted disdain as well as his criminal history to discredit his testimony in Leon Houston's double murder trial. Yates was one of only two people called by Houston's defense.

  • HOUSTON TRIAL PHOTO GALLERY
  • JULY23 EVENING UPDATE: Body armor wouldn't have saved Jones' life

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    Bill Jones was not wearing a bullet-proof vest the day he lost his life.

    Even if he was, the body armor still wouldn't have saved him. A medical examiner testified on Wednesday that two gunshots Jones suffered to the head were not survivable.

    “Either one would be immediately disabling and fatal,” Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan said.

  • WEDNESDAY NOON UPDATE: 'There was gunshots flying everywhere'

    By DAMON LAWRENCE

    rclawrence@bellsouth.net

    Life has been difficult for Mildred Anne Watts since she witnessed a shootout on May 11, 2006.

    “I walk around with that fear every day of my life still,” Watts said.

    Two of the participants in that shootout are dead. The other two, brothers Rocky and Leon Houston, are facing life in prison on charges of first-degree murder and felony murder.

    Watts continued to recall her memories from that day during testimony in Leon's murder trial Wednesday morning.

  • Strickland done at Oakdale

    By BRIAN LANGLEY

    Morgan County News

    Oakdale will have a new football coach when the 2008 high school football season kicks off next month. Chip Strickland resigned back on July 9 after only one season as head coach.

    Strickland went 0-10 in his lone season at Oakdale, but cited a once in a lifetime opportunity and lack of support from the administration, as reasons for his departure.

    Strickland was hired as the athletic director at Knoxville Christian School. He is working with former OHS head coach Willie Childers, who serves as principal at KCS.