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. 



Travis Caslin, 42, Shot While Walking Along South Willow Street

Chattanooga Police said a man was shot on Friday night while walking along South Willow Street.   The victim was identified as Travis Caslin, 42.   At 7:37 p.m., Chattanooga Police officers were called to a local hospital after a person showed up with a gunshot wound.   Police were informed that the victim's condition was non-life threatening. ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AILEY, SLATON R  1130 DARTMOUTH ST CHATTANOOGA, 37405  Age at Arrest: 27 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE --- ANDERSON, EDWARD ANTONIO  2507 CURTIS ST CHATTANOOGA, 37406  Age at Arrest: 25 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DOMESTIC ASSAULT ... (click for more)

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Myth And Fact Check

My husband and I recently had the privilege of participating in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Chattanooga. I listened as my husband told the audience about how his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when he was nine and how she died from the disease when he was fourteen. As a child, my husband didn’t understand what breast cancer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Bill Pennington, a sports writer for the New York Times, was lamenting the “huddle” is slowly disappearing in football due to the faster pace of the game and, during his search for more information, he called former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann. Bill wrote that Joe couldn’t stop laughing about the funny things that would happen between plays. Joe told this story: ... (click for more)

John Gilpin Dominates Signal Mountain Pie Run

You can almost be guaranteed of one thing when John Gilpin approaches the starting line of a road race. Chances are better than average that the former Chattanooga Moc track and cross country standout is going to win. Such was the case at the annual Signal Mountain Pie Run Saturday morning as the 25-year-old Nashville resident covered a hilly and challenging 10K course in ... (click for more)

Bears Rout William Blount To Set Up Title Showdown With Maryville

Bradley Central didn’t succumb to a look-ahead scenario Friday night. The Bears exploded for 41 first-half points behind strong efforts by wide receiver Nick Howell and quarterback Dylan Standifer and routed visiting William Blount, 51-27, at Bear Stadium in a Region 2-6A football game. Howell scored five touchdowns, three on runs of 1, 31 and 13 yards and snagged two ... (click for more)