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.”