Prosecutor Wants Jury To Visit Remote Montlake Mountain Sinkhole At Stewart Murder Trial

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

After a Monday morning hearing, the man charged with the third murder in Soddy Daisy’s history is set to go to trial next Tuesday. In a rare move, the prosecution requested that the jury be taken to visit the scene of the crime.

Keith Lee Stewart was accused of murdering 24-year-old Casey Burgiss in July 2012. According to police, Stewart gave several different stories when he was questioned before finally leading them to the body. The body was hidden in a place known as “Devil’s Pocket,” a sinkhole off of Montlake Mountain that was approximately 600 yards from Stewart’s home.

Prosecutor Cameron Williams said that it would be hard for the jury to get a correct idea of the location of the murder, as the photographs do not depict the expanse of the scene. He said, “You can’t understand how big this place is, how difficult it is to get down in there unless you’re able to see it.”

Detective Dennis Waters said he called Stewart in for questioning after he received several reports stating that Stewart was involved. Detective Waters said that at first Stewart told him that he and Burgiss were taken by three black men and that Burgiss was shot in a parking lot.

After more questioning, Detective Waters said Stewart admitted this story was false. Detective Waters said Stewart then said he and two other men, Jason Doss and Lebron Lewis, lured Burgiss to Devil’s Pocket to rob him.

Detective Waters said that in one version of the story, Stewart claimed that Lewis shot Burgiss, but in another, he said that it was Doss. Doss and Lewis have both denied involvement.

If convicted, Stewart faces life in prison. His attorney, public defender Ardena Garth, said, “I think he may understand the seriousness as we get closer to trial.”


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BAILIFF, KEVIN BRENTON  1211 LAKESIDE DRIVE HIXSON, 37343  Age at Arrest: 29 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County AGGRAVATED ASSAULT DOMESTIC --- BARNES, RACHEL KATHLEEN  420 BOOTH ROAD CHATTANOOGA, 37411  Age at Arrest: 23 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga POSSESSION ... (click for more)

City Police Officer Seriously Injured In Crash On Dodson Avenue

A Chattanooga Police officer was seriously injured in a crash on Dodson Avenue on Friday afternoon.   Police said the injuries to Sean Lynch, 38, are not life-threatening.   Police responded to a traffic crash at 1400 Dodson Ave.   The crash involved a silver Ford 350 van,  a white Ford Crown Victoria police cruiser driven by Officer Lynch, ... (click for more)

CVB Should Share Financials With The Home Folks

The recent debate over the Convention and Visitor's Bureau's funding and budget has gotten ugly. A Hamilton County commissioner has asked questions and made comments about the CVB. The director of the CVB has organized a campaign to dismiss the commissioner's questions and comments. The children on the playground are choosing sides and nothing useful seems to be happening. It's ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Haggling Must Stop

Far be it for me to suggest the Hamilton County Commission and the School Board need to spend more time at recess but it was obvious this week the two groups need to work at being better friends. We have nine county commissioners and just as many corresponding school board members to work together for the betterment of one entity – Hamilton County. Everybody who thinks that is happening ... (click for more)

Amazing Bradley Builds 32-0 Lead, Routs Cookeville 69-35 In Region 3-3A Tournament

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Bradley Central’s top-ranked Bearettes went into Friday’s Region 3-3A quarterfinal basketball game against Cookeville with several thoughts in mind. Sending a message was one of them. Stamp it delivered. The Bearettes, now at 30-0 with the tradition-rich program’s third-longest winning streak in its history, overwhelmed the Lady Cavaliers with a ... (click for more)

Macon County Ends Season For Signal Mountain Girls

The Signal Mountain Lady Eagles entered the first round of the Region 4-AA basketball tournament as the District 7-AA champions and riding high on a seven-game winning streak. The Macon County Tigerettes came to Signal Mountain Friday night for that first-round game on a two-game losing streak and still hurting after finishing fourth in last week’s District 8 gathering. But ... (click for more)