"Victim" In Cleveland's Valentine's Day Triple Murder Now Facing Death Penalty Trial

Attorney Lee Davis Says He Has "Seen No Evidence" Of Her Guilt

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The lone survivor of a Valentine's Day 1999 triple murder at an apartment at 431 19th Street in Cleveland, Tn., is now looking at a possible death penalty sentence after being charged earlier in the case.

But her Chattanooga attorney, Lee Davis, said, "I've seen no evidence that she was involved in this murder. It was only through the help of EMTs that she survived the shooting herself.

"When the killers left, they thought they had killed four people, not three."

Tawanna Blair is set to go to trial in Cleveland on Aug. 18, but only if the trial of a co-defendant, Maurice Johnson, does not go forward on Aug. 17.

No arrests were made in the case for seven years. Then Johnson and Michael Younger were accused of the slayings.

Attorney Davis said, "Then, Tawanna Blair was arrested and later on, she's facing the death penalty too."

Killed execution style that night were O.J. Blair, the cousin of Tawanna Blair; Dawn Rogers, roommate of Tawanna Blair, and Cacci Higgins.

Attorney Davis said the slayings apparently traced back to a disagreement at an earlier party in Sweetwater.

He said Ms. Blair was shot in the back, but managed to call 911 after the gunmen left. He said the bullet damaged some internal organs and hit her spinal cord, "but she made a pretty miraculous recovery."

The others were shot multiple times.

Attorney Davis said, "She has always maintained her innocence."

He called it a case of "misguided prosecution."

It was ruled earlier that the three defendants will be tried separately.

The TBI had helped reopen the case in 2006, saying there had been "new leads" obtained. At that time, the TBI released the 911 tape and asked that anyone with information about the case to "search your conscience" and contact the agency.

The Valentine's Day murder trial in Cleveland is set to open the same week as the Sam Parker murder trial to the south in LaFayette, Ga.



Red Bank Commission Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the Red Bank Commission agenda for Tuesday: I. Call to Order – Mayor John Roberts  II. Roll Call – City Manager  ___ Mayor Roberts, ___ Vice-Mayor Pierce, ___ Commissioner Causer, ___ Commissioner LeCompte, ___ Commissioner Pope  III. Invocation – IV. Pledge of Allegiance –  V. Consideration of the Minutes for approval or correction:  ... (click for more)

City Council Incumbents Anderson, Gilbert, Freeman, Hakeem Pick Up Papers Seeking Re-Election

Four City Council incumbents have picked up papers for the March 7 city election. The latest getting qualifying petitions are Russell Gilbert in District 5, Chris Anderson in District 7 and Yusuf Hakeem in District 9. Moses Freeman in District 8 picked up earlier. Anthony Byrd is a possible challenger. Former District 7 Councilman Manny Rico has already qualified. Others ... (click for more)

Who's Investigating The Mayor And His Administration?

Thank you, Tony Sanders, for having the courage to stand up and speak out about the mayor and his current administration using an encryption app for text communications.  Making a public statement against the mayor could not have been easy.  This current administration has shown it can be mean spirited and vindictive.  I applaud your audacity.  As a citizen ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Knobfather & Me

I’ve seen some beautiful things in my life. I’ve eaten dinner inside the Eiffel Tower with the city of Paris all aglitter below. I’ve been sprayed by champagne in the Dallas Cowboys’ dressing room after they won the Super Bowl. I’ve stood both at the top and at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I’ve snorkeled in the Great Exuma islands, learned to snow ski in the Austrian Alps, and ... (click for more)

Cleveland Rolls Into 5-3A Volleyball Tourney As Favorite

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Despite posting a one-loss District 5-3A regular season record, Cleveland volleyball coach Trish Powers acknowledges that her Lady Blue Raiders need serious work on several aspects of their game before starting the postseason tournament as the No. 1 seed. “Our senior class went above and beyond what the coaches expected and our growth as a team has been good,” ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Volleyballers Power Past Ooltewah

Signal Mountain unleashed a potent front-line attack on Ooltewah on Thursday and the Lady Eagles blew past the Lady Owls 3-0 in  non-district volleyball action at Edward M. Foster Gymnasium. The set scores were 25-19, 25-22 and 25-15. Signal Mountain’s Aubrie Johnson, Maia Rackel and Olivia Powers combined for 30 kills and that proved to be a deciding factor in the ... (click for more)