Defense In Blackmon Murder Case Seeks To Exclude Earlier Statement Of Man Who Has Since Been Killed Himself

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 - by Hollie Webb

In a Monday afternoon hearing regarding the upcoming trial of Edward Ryals Jr., defense attorney Amanda Dunn argued that the inconsistent testimonies of a witness who has since been murdered should be excluded from the trial.

Ryals, now 21, is charged with the shooting death of Ronald Blackmon in 2011. According to police, he was riding in a car with two other young men, Demetrius Bibbs and Quincy Bell. In Ryals' original statement to police, he confessed to being the one who shot Blackmon.

Police believe the shooting was gang-related.

However, according to attorney Dunn, Ryals was actually taking the blame to save Bell. Bell's girlfriend at the time later testified that Bell told her shortly after the incident that Ryals had taken the attempted murder charge for him. That charge became first-degree murder after Blackmon died in the hospital.

Ryals' previous attorney, Robin Flores, also argued that Ryals had agreed with his friends to take responsibility for the incident.

In Bell's original description of what happened, he said he was in the passenger seat and Bibbs was driving, leaving Ryals as the shooter.

However, Bell was shot and killed in 2012. Marcus Boston was charged, but the state did not have enough evidence to proceed.

Because of this, attorney Dunn wants Bell's testimony from a previous hearing to be excluded. She said it was not challenged at the time, and now Bell cannot be questioned.

She said, "I think the entirety of that statement is excluded under the Sixth Amendment." The Sixth Amendment states that the accused has the right to be "confronted with the witnesses against him."

Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern pointed out that when she had previously decided to exclude it, her ruling was about not "allowing the state to play it as if it were a witness."

Ryals' trial is scheduled for April 29.

80 Municipalities Qualify For Wine In Grocery Stores Votes

Registered voters in 80 Tennessee municipalities will vote Nov. 4 in referendums to allow the sale of wine in retail food stores, the Red White and Food campaign announced today.   “This is a tremendous accomplishment for the state’s retail food stores and for their customers who want to be able to buy wine while shopping for groceries,” said Susie Alcorn, Red White ... (click for more)

1 Dies, 4 Injured In 2-Vehicle Crash At Soddy Daisy

One person has died in a wreck Sunday at Soddy Daisy in which four other people were injured. The wreck happened at 12:35 p.m. when a vehicle traveling north struck another vehicle that was pulling onto the highway. A small red truck was badly damaged in the crash. It happened at 12130 Dayton Pike near Tavern Sports Bar and Grille. One person was airlifted, while the ... (click for more)

Decimating The Chattanooga Public Library

Corinne Hill claims that the library is just undergoing a normal weeding process for eliminating books.  She has bragged that she's responsible for the elimination of over 100,000 books - with more to go. "Normal" weeding is not rampant throwing away.  Yes, books go to the Friends for their sale - where they get $2 for a $75 book and thousands wind up being recycled ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)

Fast-Starting Vols Gear Up For Another Mobile QB

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – It’s a new week for Tennessee’s football team, but the challenge that awaits in Neyland Stadium on Saturday afternoon will be a familiar reminder of the one the Volunteers just completed. The Volunteers have a short week to prepare for Arkansas State, a team much like Utah State, which relies heavily on a dual-threat quarterback and a physical front line. ... (click for more)

Lookouts Reach Southern League Northern Division Playoffs With Doubleheader Win Over Smokies

The Chattanooga Lookouts are now playoff bound after sweeping a double-header against the Tennessee Smokies  to clinch the Southern League North Division for the second half of the season. The first game of the double-header was backed by a masterful gem of a game thrown by the starter for the Lookouts, Steve Smith (W, 3-2). Smith dominated the Smokies' lineup from top ... (click for more)