Man Listed As Suspect In Murder Of Monroe County Election Commissioner Gets Reduced Sentence In Drug Case For Aiding Government

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A man who authorities have identified as a suspect in the July 2010 murder of Monroe County Election Commission Chairman Jim Miller was given a reduced sentence in Chattanooga Federal Court on Thursday due to his help to the government.

Brandon "Rooster" Steele, 35, was sentenced by Judge Curtis Collier to serve 135 months. His original sentencing range had been 188-235 months.

Attorney Paul Bergmann said Steele gave valuable help in connection with the one conviction thus far in the Miller murder. Jessica Kennedy was found guilty and given a 22-year sentence. 

The slaying happened outside a meth house on Creek Road at Sweetwater, Tn., that authorities said was so notorious that it was known as "Hell's Kitchen." 

Jim Miller was shot three times in the head and his body was placed in the trunk of a car. It is not known why he was at "Hell's Kitchen." 

Steele acknowledged that he began living on the property in September 2012 and he sold meth to over 100 individuals over a wide area. He said he also cooked meth with a number of individuals.

Attorney Bergmann said, with Steele's help, an additional 10 people were indicted on drug charges.

He also said Steele went to Monroe County to testify in an aggravated assault case. He said the individual wound up pleading guilty and got an eight-year suspended sentence.

For his actions, he said Steele has received a number of threats. He said word got back to him that a co-defendant said, "Every rooster has its day to die."

Prosecutor Michael Porter said, despite his help, the court should consider that Steele was involved in some very serious crimes. He said he produced over 225 grams of meth.

He said Steele's record includes five felonies - three of them violent.


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