Chattanooga Police had their witnesses ready to go for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday morning in the case in which Chattanooga Police officer William McMillan was shot multiple times, but the defense attorney said she was not ready.
General Sessions Court Judge Christie Sell granted a delay in the case, saying attorney Wendy Stanfield had just been appointed on Monday to represent Celvin Houston.
Another attorney in the case, Lloyd Levitt, said Ms. Stanfield had gotten to speak with the state witnesses, but had not had time to get back with Houston about their testimony.
Judge Sell cited a Supreme Court case stating that a preliminary hearing is "a critical stage" in a defendant's case.
She said, "I don't want to see that what goes on after this gets set aside."
Judge Sell delayed the case until April 2.
Justin Kilgore, lead detective in the case, went before the bench asking further clarification on the ruling. The judge called back the defense attorneys, but finally cut off the discussion.
The state had been ready to go on the shooting of the officer as well as a robbery case that happened a few days earlier.
Officer McMillan was shot in the thigh, buttock and groin areas, a police report says.
Last Wednesday morning, police arrested Houston for shooting the officer Tuesday night at 2219 E 26th Street Court.
Houston was arrested at 8:39 a.m. at 419 Booth Road without incident and charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault, and unlawful possession of a firearm.
He had two additional warrants from a prior incident for attempted murder and aggravated robbery.
Houston has a lengthy criminal record, including a conviction last year in state court for being in possession of a handgun with felony convictions. He got a two-year suspended sentence.
He got another two-year suspended sentence in 2004 when he was charged with unlawfully possessing a weapon.
The report says Officer McMillan was responding to a call from an anonymous caller saying there were 30 people hanging out in the East Lake Housing area and they wanted them checked out.
As the officer walked up to the group, one of them pulled out a gun and began shooting at the officer, the report says.
During the investigation, officers learned that "Squeaky" was the person who shot the officer. Investigators found his cellphone at the scene.
They identified "Squeaky" as Celvin Houston and began to look for his associates, Alisha Houston and Moniek Johnson. They were brought to police headquarters.
Both said they had spoken with Houston and he told them that he "messed up by shooting an officer."
Houston is charged in a robbery that occurred at the Hamilton Inn on Rossville Boulevard.
Detective Kristoffer Tinney said he interviewed Cavegeo Strickland at Erlanger Hospital. He said Strickland was approached from behind by a black male who displayed a semi-automatic handgun and told him to "give it up." He said when Strickland tried to run the man shot him in the leg. The shot went through the left leg and grazed his right leg.
He said Strickland dropped a bag of CDs and the robber picked it up and fled in a dark-colored SUV.
Strickland identified the robber as Houston, saying he knew him from spending time in East Lake.