"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.



Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BAILEY, BLAKE AARON  206 TUNNELL BLVD CHATTANOOGA, 37411  Age at Arrest: 24 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County VEHICULAR ASSAULT --- BARROW, JALAYCIAN  2709 CITICO AVENUE APT W1 CHATTANOOGA, 37404  Age at Arrest: 18 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DOMESTIC ASSAULT ... (click for more)

Police Blotter: Shots Fired On Mallette Road; Pit Bull Missing

Police said shots were fired on Mallette Road, and a pit bull is missing. Janice Pritchett said she heard 2-3 gunshots. Her neighbor, Ronald Smith, said he fired three shots after Ms. Pritchett's black pit bull came after him. He said the dog approached him barking and growling on his front porch. He said he frantically reached inside the front door to get his Cobra ... (click for more)

The Heart Of A Teacher Makes A Difference - And Response (2)

In less than four weeks, I expect to be one of 216 graduating seniors from East Hamilton School. One could say all possible variables help a student rise to the highest levels in school; but a student is more than his environment or genetic code. He is a mixture of his own propensity and dedication to academics, coupled with a systemic team of mentors who give their all as a student’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: FBI To Study ‘Lickers’

About 25 years ago there was a terrifying movie called “The Silence of the Lambs.” It was so good it won the Academy Awards in all five categories – Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Adapted Screenplay. Further, Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster were brilliant, but do you remember the third “star?” Scott Glenn played a character named “Jack Crawford,” the ... (click for more)

Orange (Defense) Rallies To Beat White (Offense), 54-44

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.  –  The White-clad offense put on a show in Tennessee’s spring football game on Saturday afternoon, but it was the Orange-shirted defense that took home the victory, 54-44, in front of an announced crowd of 63,016 at Neyland Stadium. Coach Butch Jones was impressed with the Vols' collective performance on Saturday compared to two years ago. ... (click for more)

Siblings Shine For East Hamilton Tennis

For East Hamilton tennis, it’s the new millennium’s version of the late 1970s TV sitcom “Eight is Enough” or the movie “Yours, Mine and Ours”. Three sets of siblings are represented on coach Michael Jackson’s teams from 1-7 in singles and all played and won  Friday  in district matches with Bradley Central. With no seniors on either team and both squads looking ... (click for more)