"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.



Tennessee State Trooper Resigns In Lieu Of Termination

Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott announced   Friday   that a Tennessee state trooper in the Fall Branch District resigned from the department in lieu of termination following an internal investigation into an arrest on domestic assault charges. The Johnson City Police ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report - And Mug Shots

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BAHMED, ALEC HARRIS     8914 QUAIL RUN DRIVE CHATTANOOGA, 374210000     19     Hamilton County          VANDALISM/MALICIOUS MISCHIEF     AGGRAVATED CRIMINAL TRESSPASS BAKER, SARAH CAITLYN     1423 CYPRESS ... (click for more)

You’re Right With Lamar

One of Tennessee’s favorite sons, Davy Crockett, coined an oft-used phrase:  “Be always sure you’re right, then go ahead.” Being sure is quite important, but may be difficult in this election cycle. The Democratic nominee campaigning against Lamar Alexander is a man whose radio ads call for “change,” “fair” taxes and more jobs.  Sounds good, huh?   ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Okay … here we go. A number of readers have complained that I haven’t shared any jokes that my friends send to my email address so on a weekend when our Volunteers and Mocs are idle, let’s laugh a little:   I was sitting in a bar one afternoon with an old friend knocking back a few beers when he said, "You know, if we're not careful we'll end up like those two old drunks ... (click for more)

Owls Force Seven Turnovers, Rout Hurricanes, 41-7

Turnovers turn into blowouts. In a county rival that drew what East Hamilton announced as a record crowd, Ooltewah forced an amazing seven turnovers – two interceptions and five lost fumbles – and the Owls trounced the Hurricanes, 41-7, in a District 5-AAA high school football game played on a pleasant Friday night. “Right now we’re playing, statistically, about as well as ... (click for more)

Brainerd Tops East Ridge in OT, 29-28

Brainerd's Demonte Pickett threw for two touchdown and ran for the winning two-point conversion in overtime as the visiting Panthers rallied to edge East Ridge, 29-28, in a AA District 6 football game Friday night. East Ridge led 21-7 with 4:12 remaining in the fourth quarter, before Brainerd scored twice to tie the game at 21-21 and force overtime. In the extra ... (click for more)