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.”


Sign Up To Get The Latest News, Opinions From Chattanoogan.com In Real Time; Win Set Of Chattanooga Photo Books

Sign up for our Facebook and Twitter feeds and you will get the  local news in "real time." You will also be entered for a chance to win the complete set of the Chattanooga Photo Books published by Chattanoogan.com. We will give away three sets of The Remarkable Stokes Collection, Railroads In and Around Chattanooga and Paul Hiener's Historic Chattanooga to our new Facebook ... (click for more)

Wilkins Found With 2 Stolen Vehicles After Homeowner Catches Him In Break-In

Authorities said Jesse Lee Wilkins was found with two stolen vehicles after a resident on Thursday caught him stealing items from his residence on Cave Lane. Wilkins, 29, of 2906 E. 43rd St., was charged with aggravated burglary and two counts of theft over $1,000. When deputies arrived on a burglary call, they found Wilkins and the resident standing in the driveway. He said ... (click for more)

Exempt Volunteer Fire Departments From Procurement Policies - And Response (2)

The Hamilton County Commission just grouped a bunch of departments together in an attempt to reign in the CVB. I haven't spoken to any commissioners, but I truly believe it was unknowingly. By mandating that all non profits that receive 25 percent of their revenue follow county procurement policies, they might as well have padlocked all local volunteer fire departments. We expect ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

I am constantly amazed by the many emails that I receive every day. Quite curiously, I get a heavier load than I would ever have thought because the big search engines on the Internet send my Chattanoogan.com stories far and wide. Even the local ones on the Chattanooga area bring comments and I am deeply flattered. I try to read them and lament I haven’t the time to respond the ... (click for more)

Lookouts Open Second Half Play With 6-1 Win Friday Over Pensacola

LHP Stephen Gonsalves threw seven innings, leading the Chattanooga Lookouts over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in a 6-1 win on Friday night. Rain was in the area, but had no effect on the game. The Lookouts were supposed to begin the second half of their season on Thursday, but rain pushed the game to Friday. Gonsalves was on the mound and had a terrific outing. The left-hander ... (click for more)

Cleveland High School Selects Joey Knox As Head Wrestling Coach

Cleveland High School has selected Joey Knox as the next head coach for the Blue Raider Wrestling program.  Coach Knox has been with the wrestling program as an assistant since 2013.  During his assistant coaching tenure, the team has secured six Team State Championships, including five individual State Champions and 20 State Medalists.    Cleveland High ... (click for more)