Mistrial Declared In Carjacking Case After Witness Mentions Other Crime

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - by Hollie Webb

A mistrial was declared Tuesday afternoon in the trial of Jeremiah Jaques Miller after a witness made statements alluding to another crime. Miller is charged with carjacking a UTC student in the Northshore Walgreen's parking lot. 


The victim, Amanda Sumner, said the incident occurred during the evening on Jan. 13, 2012, when she was running some errands. She said that when she left the store, a tall black male got extremely close to her and said, “Give me your keys.” She said the man had one hand in his pants and she was afraid that he could have been hiding a gun or knife. She handed him her keys, and he took her car and drove away.


Ms. Sumner's car was recovered six days later after being abandoned. Prosecutor Jason Demastus said in his opening statement that a fingerprint was found that was linked to the defendant, but defense attorney Kevin Loper objected.


Attorne Loper told the Jury to “make the state prove what they say they're going to prove.” He said “Ms. Sumner is the victim of a crime, but Mr. Miller is not guilty of that crime. My client is innocent.”


The first witness was the police officer who had investigated the situation after Ms. Sumner called to report what had happened. He explained that there had also been another suspect at the time.


When he was cross-examined by Attorney Loper, he was questioned about the lineup of suspect pictures that the police department used. It was pointed out that while the other suspects' pictures were either mugshots or drivers' license photos, the photo for Miller was from his Facebook page. The defense suggested that this could have made Ms. Sumner more likely to pick Miller's photo out of the lineup, as it was different from the others.


Detective Bill Taylor said he was assigned to the case five days after the incident happened. His task was to determine if the crime was an auto theft or a carjacking.


Ms. Sumner, while she was on the stand, was shown photos of her car after it was found by police. The car had various items in it that she said were not there before it was stolen. In the front seat, there was a mask and several bottles. There was also makeup and a small purse that did not belong to her.


Ms. Sumner said that when she was allowed to drive her car again, she discovered that there were now engine problems, as well as minor damage to one of the sides.


Detective William Puckett was asked by prosecutor Demastus how he came to be involved in the case. However, when he answered, he not only mentioned that he was investigating a robbery, but also that Ms. Sumner's car had been in a pursuit before it was abandoned. The defense objected to this, and the jury was dismissed so that Judge Don Poole could speak to the attorneys privately. The court then decided that this could potentially influence the jury's opinion of Miller's character, and Judge Poole granted a mistrial. 


Upcoming City Council Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the upcoming City Council agenda for Tuesday: I. Call to Order. II. Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Councilman Anderson). III. Minute Approval. IV. Special Presentation. V. Ordinances – Final Reading: VI. Ordinances – First Reading: VII. Resolutions: ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT a. A resolution authorizing the Administrator of the Department ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Housing Authority Takes Action On East Lake Courts Fight

The Chattanooga Housing Authority took action with those involved in a fight at East Lake Courts that occurred late last week. Two female victims were involved in the altercation that led to warrants being issued for seven individuals.  13   individuals were identified by CHA authorities ... (click for more)

Don't Make A Mockery Of Memorial Day - And Response

We're told Memorial Day is the day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order that we, as Americans and others around the world, might live free, unshackled (invisible or otherwise) and without oppression. But how is that so when so many in America continue to be denied those freedoms? Others whose family and friends made the ultimate sacrifice? Their surviving families ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Chincoteague Mourns ‘Dude’

In the span of a person’s life, there are some things that simply can’t be explained to be totally understood. And of all the spectacles I have ever personally witnessed, one of the best is that day in late July when they “pen the ponies” at Chincoteague Island, Va. I’m serious. Over 50,000 people watch every year as volunteer “Saltwater Cowboys” swim the wild ponies to the mainland ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Girls Win Second Straight A-AA Track Title

MURFREESBORO – The Signal Mountain Eagles won last year’s Class A-AA state track title by a scant six points, but it wasn’t nearly that close this year. With Camryn Bowman and McKenzie Ethridge both winning two events, the Eagles had a one-point lead following the field events, but ending up scoring 96 points and winning by 24 over runner-up East Nashville. While Signal Mountain ... (click for more)

Baylor To Face GPS Again For D-II State Softball Title

MURFREESBORO – It will be another Baylor-GPS battle for the championship in Division II softball as Baylor advanced with a 10-3 win over St. Benedict while GPS later beat the Lady Eagles by a 2-0 final for the right to face the Lady Red Raiders again. This year’s D-II tournament was similar to last year as Baylor beat GPS on the first day before the Bruisers came back and beat ... (click for more)