Judge Dismisses All Charges Against Tawana Blair In 1999 Cleveland Triple Murder; Attorney Davis Says She Is "Victim"

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A special judge has dismissed all charges against Tawana "Tart"  Blair in the 1999 triple murder in Cleveland, Tn.

Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood, in a 13-page ruling, noted that a jury in 2009 had deadlocked on most of the charges facing Ms. Blair. Then she faced new charges four years later.

The state at one time was seeking the death penalty against her.

Judge Blackwood also removed former prosecutor Richard Fisher from the case and put Steve Crump in his place.

After the jury deadlock in 2009, Judge Amy Reedy proceeded to dismiss all counts of first-degree murder and second-degree murder (three of each) against Ms. Blair.

Ms. Blair had been shot herself in the Valentine's Day triple slaying along with the three people who died - O.J. Blair, 18; Cayci Higgins, 19; and Dawn Rogers, 25.

The judge also acquitted Ms. Blair on especially aggravated robbery charges.

The only remaining charge had been facilitation of murder.

Her attorney, Lee Davis of Chattanooga, said, “In 2009 Tawana Blair was acquitted of all charges after a jury trial.  Today Judge Blackwood again dismissed all charges against her in this latest prosecution launched in 2014 by District Attorney Steve Bebb and carried forward by assistant Richard Fisher.  Tawana Blair is not guilty and never was guilty of anything in this case. Tawana Blair is a victim in this horrible tragedy.

"On Valentine’s Day in 1999 she was shot in the back and left for dead, while her cousin and two friends lay murdered in the next room.  Over the last 15 years Ms. Blair has been subjected to multiple indictments and a jury trial.  At every turn she has been vindicated as not being involved in these senseless murders. With today’s order again dismissing all charges against her, we hope the matter is finally concluded.”

Maurice Johnson earlier was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life without parole.

Michael Younger went to trial, but a mistrial was declared based on prosecutorial misconduct.

Click here to read the order of dismissal.
 



TDOT Begins Slide Repair Work On State Route 68 In Rhea County; Project Expected To Take 4 Weeks

TDOT personnel and contract crews began work Thursday to repair a section of SR-68 near log mile 5 in Rhea County that is currently closed due to a slide that occurred earlier this week.  The work is expected to take approximately four weeks to complete.  The road will remain closed to through traffic as the repairs are underway.  Recent wet weather caused a ... (click for more)

TBI Says Nakayla Sullivan Was Responsible For Death Of Missing Bledsoe Man

  A joint investigation by special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, deputies with the Bledsoe County Sheriff’s Department and officers with the Pikeville Police Department has resulted in the arrest of a Pikeville woman on a charge of criminal homicide.   Nakayla Shawnta Sullivan, 25, was arrested and charged with one count of criminal homicide. ... (click for more)

Keep The Gifted Program In The Hamilton County Schools - And Response (2)

I currently have a daughter in fourth grade at Lookout Valley Elementary and a daughter in the eighth grade at Lookout Valley Middle High School. Both of my daughters are very good students, as well as being very good people. I am writing today with a concern. I was made aware that the Hamilton County Department of Education is considering cutting the gifted program ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A True Tennessean

“Last week I told some Republican friends who have held high office, traditional and true Republicans, who like you are both conservative and compassionate, Christians in their personal faith and public service,” the email began. “These are Tennessee Republicans that I have known for decades, and whom I'd trust with my life and my wife … I told them that my views and values make ... (click for more)

Cagle's One-Hitter Leads South Pittsburg Win

SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. – South Pittsburg pitcher EJ Cagle is starting to refine his one-hitters.   For the second game in a row, the right-hander twirled a complete-game one-hitter, limiting visiting Lookout Valley to a bloop hit in the Pirates’ 10-0 shutout of the Jackets in a matchup of regular-season champions  Wednesday  night.   In ... (click for more)

Bradley Rides Bunch's 3-Hitter To 5-0 Win And 5-3A Baseball Title

Bradley Central’s opening 9-3 loss to Soddy-Daisy in a double-header to decide the District 5-3A regular-season champion on Wednesday, meant second-game starter Andy Bunch, a senior right-hander, needed to turn in a Herculean effort for the Bears. Bunch came through with flying colors at Tom Higgins Field. The hard-throwing Bunch fired a three-hit shutout at the Trojans ... (click for more)