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.


Collegedale Family Loses Home To Fire Tuesday Afternoon

A Collegedale family will be staying with family and friends Tuesday night after losing their house to a fire Tuesday afternoon. Mr. Donald Barbree, the homeowner, called 911 at 12:18 p.m. reporting a garage fire at 4440 Woodland Drive (Collegedale area). The Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department responded and reported the house was fully involved on the back ... (click for more)

Cleveland's Mosby Pool Should Be Open To Public On Thursday After Many Delays

Dave Sheldon, head of the company contracted to construct the Mosby Pool, told the Cleveland City Council on Monday afternoon that the pool should be able to open to the public on Thursday. Many parents in the community have been frustrated because the pool was originally scheduled to be completed before summer started so that their children could enjoy it.  Councilman ... (click for more)

Senator Bob Corker: An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Wamp Refuses To Stoop

With less than two weeks before the Aug. 7 th election and the last week of early voting now underway in Hamilton County, Congressional challenger Weston Wamp sounded upbeat and relaxed early yesterday afternoon. “I’m pleased to say that I believe we are right where we need to be … maybe even more than we had hoped.” Wamp, who is challenging two-term incumbent Chuck Fleishmann ... (click for more)

Recap of 17 Stop, Prep Football Tour

Starting at Soddy Daisy at 7:44 a.m. and leaving Silverdale 14 hours later ( 9:58 p.m.), the fifth annual Chattanoogan.com prep football tour made whistle stops at 17 schools covering 220 miles.   The Chattanooga Jamboree is Aug. 15-16 at Finley Stadium and the season openers are Thurs. Aug. 21   - Cleveland vs. McCallie (Finley Stadium) ... (click for more)

NPSL National Championship To Be Played At Red Bulls Arena

The NPSL announced on Monday that the national championship match between Chattanooga FC and the Red Bulls U23 will be played on Saturday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.  The match will be played following an MLS match between New York Red Bulls and the New England Revolution.   Local fans took to social media to appeal for the game to be played in Chattanooga. ... (click for more)