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. 


Governor Haslam Applauds Passage Of IMPROVE Act That Is Headed To His Desk

Governor Bill Haslam on Monday praised passage of the IMPROVE Act, a key piece of his NextTennessee legislative plan. He said it "gives the largest tax cut in Tennessee history and makes the state more competitive in recruiting manufacturing jobs while delivering a safe, reliable and debt-free transportation network for the next generation of Tennesseans." Governor Haslam said, ... (click for more)

Officials React To Sonny Perdue's Appointment To Serve As Secretary Of Agriculture

The U.S. Senate voted 87 to 11 on Monday to confirm former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue as United States Secretary of Agriculture Senator Lamar Alexander said, “Governor Perdue is well-qualified to lead the Department of Agriculture: He’s a farmer, a veterinarian, and a former governor. I look forward to working with him to support agriculture and rural development programs, ... (click for more)

No Tax-Supported Entity Should Get Secrecy In Spending

A shadowy situation has emerged in Chattanooga with an organization that manages millions of taxpayer dollars with no transparency and such a surprising disregard for accountability that one wonders what it would take to wake up elected officials who are supposedly in charge. Welcome to the Chattanooga Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, whose lawyer threatened to sue the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Genius Comes This Way

They claim that about 50 years ago there was this special night at the Tivoli Theater. The “Jewel of the South” had been sold out for weeks and about 45 minutes before Louis Armstrong, or whoever, was to appear, incomparable John Robere had pulled out all the stops on “The Mighty Wurlitzer” and the excitement was keen. This tuxedoed dandy – he was even wearing spats – escorted his ... (click for more)

Defense Sparkles In Ooltewah's 4-0 Win Vs. Walker Valley

(Story will be updated) Strong defense meant more for Ooltewah than any other aspect of Monday’s key District 5-3A prep baseball game against Walker Valley at A.C. “Bud” Ball Field. ** Owls center fielder Jake Sullivan made an ESPN-worthy diving catch in left-center that probably saved two runs in the first inning. ** Pitcher Daniel Willie picked off a Mustangs runner ... (click for more)

Lee Women, Men Second At Gulf South Conference Championship

The Lee women's golf team slipped from first to second after 36 holes of play at the Gulf South Conference Tournament on Monday from Callaway Gardens Golf Club. The 13th-ranked Lady Flames dipped to 313 after an opening round score of 303 for a 617 total. No. 16 West Georgia fired a 298 in round two (604 total) and will carry a 13-shot lead over the Lady Flames heading into ... (click for more)