Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

February 28, 2013

Conflict cited old murder case appeal

CROSSVILLE — Appeal of an eight-year-old murder conviction will have to wait a little longer after the judicial district's chief prosecutor agreed to step aside "to avoid any appearance of impropriety," an assistant prosecutor told the court last week.

David Dwayne Smith, a Bledsoe County resident, filed appeal of his conviction in 2006, but for a variety of reasons including the changing of attorneys, the appeal has never been heard and remains on the Criminal Court docket.

Smith and three others were originally charged in the July 2004 shooting death of Donnie Elbert Stone, 47, who was found shot in the head as he slept on his couch in his Lantana Rd. home.

It only took a Cumberland County jury 30 minutes in July 2004 to find Smith, now age 39, guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.

He was given the mandatory life sentence on the first-degree murder charge and later was sentenced on the conspiracy charge.

District Attorney Randy York was one of the defense attorneys involved in the case that began with four defendants and ended up with two actually going to trial. York represented Mitchell Hunter Oakes who, in the midst of the trial, suddenly copped a plea, trading his testimony for a lighter sentence.

One defendant early in the case had the charges dropped against him when investigators learned that he had erroneously been identified by witnesses and was not involved.

A second defendant, Noel Anthony Underwood, cut a deal with prosecutors in exchange for his testimony. When Oakes suddenly turned state's evidence mid-way through the trial, it left Smith to face a jury alone.

Cookeville attorney Douglas Turner filed a motion on behalf of Smith, asking the District Attorney's Office to step aside on the appeal, citing a conflict of interest because of York's earlier involvement in the case.

Judge Leon Burns said the motion "raises a good question."

While not admitting a conflict exists, Deputy District Attorney Gary McKenzie said York felt it was best to step aside so that the appeal can be heard as quickly as possible and so his presence in the case will not be brought into question later.

Burns accepted an agreed order and urged that the process to find a new prosecutor begin as soon as possible.

McKenzie explained that the state District Attorney's Conference would name a new prosecutor — mostly likely from an adjacent judicial district — and that his office would immediately meet with the prosecutor to turn over all files in the case. He said he expected a new prosecutor to be identified by the end of next week.

Once that is done and the new prosecutor is ready to proceed, the case will be set for a hearing on Smith's appeal.

Text Only
Area News
  • trail 1.jpg Working on the trail

    Volunteers were out Saturday morning constructing a trail at Meadow Park Lake. This was phase one of trail building, explained John Conrad, Crossville Trails organizer, with volunteers clipping twigs and branches and raking a path. Bruce Whitehead, George Schlenker, Lee Skinner and Pat Schudiske rake a path about three feet wide. Later, larger obstacles, such as fallen trees, will be removed, and topsoil removed on the trail to aid in trail maintenance. The trail will be about 1.5 miles in length.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Panel waives ticket charge for boosters

    The building and grounds committee approved a request to waive a portion of the ticket fees for a school sports booster group planning a truck and tractor pull at the Cumberland County Community Complex, but the committee cautioned the group it would take action by the full Cumberland County Commission to relieve them of the obligation to return 10 percent of the gate charge to the county.

    April 23, 2014

  • Jury seated in Batty slaying case

    A jury plus alternates has been seated and began hearing evidence in the trial of John Russell Giles of Hampshire Lane, Fairfield Glade, charged in connection with the Nov. 7 death of Kimberly Ann Batty, 58, of Dovenshire Dr., also Fairfield Glade.

    April 23, 2014

  • New site sought for convenience center

    An expansion at Colinx and the improvement of a city street will require Cumberland County to move a convenience center. The city of Crossville has proposed a site in the same general area, but commissioners on the county's building and grounds committee were concerned about the cost to make the site suitable for a convenience center and the proximity of the Little Obed River.

    April 23, 2014

  • Hwy. 70 crash.jpg CCHS student dies in car crash

    Crossville Police have identified the victim of a two-vehicle collision that occurred Tuesday morning on Hwy. 70 W at the intersection of Dillon St. as a sophomore at Cumberland County High School.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_0783.JPG Visitors center now open to the public

    A ten-year effort to establish a gateway to the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, as well as to point tourists and visitors to the many other area parks, historical sites and points of interest, concluded Thursday as the community gathered with officials from the city of Crossville, Cumberland County, the Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce and the National Park Service to dedicate the Crossville-Cumberland County: Gateway to the Big South Fork Visitors Center on River Otter Dr.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shots fired during standoff over domestic situation

    Chickens were killed, threats of bodily harm made and at least three shots fired in the presence of a Cumberland County sheriff's deputy during a domestic dispute between an uncle and nephew.

    April 22, 2014

  • Jury selection set in Batty slaying

    Jury selections were scheduled to begin today in the trial of John Russell Giles of Hampshire Lane, Fairfield Glade, charged in connection with the Nov. 7 death of Kimberly Ann Batty, 58, of Dovenshire Dr., also Fairfield Glade.

    April 22, 2014

  • Thoughts for this holy time of Easter

    The first performance of George Friderick Handel's masterpiece, "Messiah," was given in Dublin, Ireland, on April 13, 1742, where it was well received. When it was performed in England there were criticisms of the music, performers and location of the performance. It was held that the subject matter was too exalted to perform in an opera house, but rather it should be performed in church. Wouldn't it be interesting if we knew how many times this magnificent music has been performed in the past 272 years?

    April 22, 2014

  • Joe Goodwin.JPG Warden Joe Goodwin remains a true original

    The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency celebrates its 65th anniversary this year, and Crossville's Joe Goodwin is part of that living history.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice