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. 


Councilman Banks Asks Bradley Schools To Dismiss Liquor-By-The-Drink Lawsuit; Fivas Hits The Ground Running

The courts have twice ruled in favor of the city of Cleveland regarding taxes generated by the sale of liquor-by-the-drink, Councilman Richard Banks noted at the Cleveland City Council meeting Monday afternoon. Therefore, he made a motion to ask the new Bradley County School Board to dismiss their lawsuit against Cleveland. That board has been seeking to be paid a large portion ... (click for more)

611 Athletes And Spectators Treated At Ironman Event

Fourteen participants in  Sunday’s  Triathlon event were treated at Erlanger’s Downtown and East emergency rooms. Several were also hospitalized and required further treatment by medical staff.  A total of 611 athletes and spectators were treated by event medicine specialists in the medical tent at this year’s Ironman.  A majority of those individuals ... (click for more)

Of Course Gangs Are A Public Nuisance

Now, I don't know it all.  Beginning with my parents, folks of all sorts have been actively pointing out my ignorance for more than seven decades now.  So I'm well aware that I don't know it all.  In recent months I've begun to develop an appreciation for the local work of Mr. Neal Pinkston; I've been impressed with several things he's been doing in his official ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Pitch Called ‘The Defector’

When Jose Fernandez was killed early Sunday morning in a boating accident, he was 24 years old yet had already lived a life much larger than almost all old men. He had spent part of a year in an unimaginably cruel Cuban prison, this when he only 14 years old and sandwiched in an inhumane cell among grown criminals. There were murders daily – in his very cell -- and nobody cared. ... (click for more)

Vols' Dobbs, Barnett Grab SEC Player of Week Honors

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs is the SEC Offensive Player of the Week and end Derek Barnett the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week. This week's honor marks the first time this season that a Vol has earned SEC Offensive Player of the Week. Dobbs was the last UT player to win the award in Week 6 of 2015 following his performance in the Vols' ... (click for more)

Craine, Ribeiro Named SoCon Players Of The Week

Two University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football student-athletes were named Southern Conference Players of the Week, following the Mocs' 41-21 win over Samford on Saturday.  Seniors Derrick Craine and Henrique Ribeiro both earned recognition from the league office announced today. Craine rushed for a career-high 222 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns in the win. ... (click for more)