Charges Bound To Grand Jury In Beating Of Man Just Outside Market Street Karaoke Bar

Monday, April 28, 2014

Charges have been bound to the Grand Jury against two men in the beating of a third man just outside a karaoke bar on Market Street.

Prosecutor Dave Denny said Jack Payne and Joseph Brian Allen were justified in getting 56-year-old Russell Miller away from a woman he had collared, but not in a follow-up beating.

He said, "We cannot allow the drunken revelers in a bar to determine who deserves a beating. That would mean we would have bar justice and not court justice."

Defense attorney Bryan Hoss had contended that Miller "got everything he deserved" after earlier taunting a 67-year-old longtime foe inside Sing It or Wing It and than agitating the man's step-son, Allen.

Police Officer Daniel Russell said he decided to bring charges of aggravated assault after finally being able to view videotape of the Oct. 23 incident. The video, which shows almost the entire incident, was shown several times during the two-hour court hearing.

The officer said a third man, Michael Brown, was allegedly involved at the start of the fight. He said charges may still be brought against Brown, noting that Miller has hired a private investigator to help.

The officer said the video shows that after Melissa Payne, wife of Jack Payne, had gotten loose from Miller's grasp, that Miller was hit repeatedly in the head by Allen and Payne as well as being kicked by Payne while he was down.

Miller, who was at the bar with girl friend Christie Murphy, admitted going over to Junior King and calling him a vile name. He said, "We have disrespected each other for a long time."

Allen said Miller also called him names and made gestures toward him after accosting his step-father. He said he told Miller that his step-father recently had a stroke and couldn't fight back. Allen, 36, said he had a stroke himself a short time after the incident.

Allen said he tried to diffuse the situation by buying a round of drinks for everyone, but it didn't work.

He said he followed Miller out the door and then saw Miller intervening in a shoving match between Ms. Payne and the Miller girl friend. He and other defense witnesses said Miller came up from behind and lifted Ms. Payne up after getting a grasp around her neck. Allen, who said he had never been in trouble before - "not even in the principal's office" - said he then started hitting Miller to get him to let go.

At that time, Ms. Allen and Jack Payne were up on the stage singing a Kenny Chesney song. But Payne cut the tune short and hurried out when the action started.

The beating continued out the door with Miller lying on the sidewalk sustaining repeated blows.

Attorney Hoss said of Miller, "He's the problem. He wanted to start a fight."

Prosecutor Denny said not many bar fights make it to court "because we don't have it on video. This one we can view almost all of it."

He said the victim "was severely beaten while he was defenseless."

Miller said he had a broken nose, facial bruising and bruised ribs. He said his ACL was torn during the melee and he had to have surgery. He said, "Afterward for three or four weeks I could barely get out of a chair."

Melissa Payne, who said she may have had five drinks, was charged that evening with disorderly conduct and public drunk when she declined to follow an officer's directive to sit down on the curb.

Prosecutor Denny noted that it was the women fighting that got it all started.

Judge Shattuck said, "It would have been better if they had just let the women settle it."

He added, "They should have been there just to have a good time. Instead, we've got adults acting like five-year-olds."


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AKINS, JAMIE ALISON  5862 DAYTON BLVD APT 2 CHATTANOOGA, 37415  Age at Arrest: 48 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga ASSAULT --- BARNES, STEVEN LOUIS  HOMELESS CHATTANOOGA, 37403  Age at Arrest: 50 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga PUBLIC INTOXICATION --- BENFORD, ... (click for more)

Men Sentenced For Conspiracy To Use Weapons Of Mass Destruction

Brian Cannon, Terry Peace and Cory Williamson have been sentenced for conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction in attacks against federal government agencies.  The defendants planned to attack critical infrastructure while motivating militia groups in other states to rise up and join them in removing government officials who they believed had exceeded their Constitutional ... (click for more)

Vote To Save Graduate Medical Education Funding

As a resident physician at UT College of Medicine Chattanooga, I know first-hand the impact Medicare financing for Graduate Medical Education has on physician education and access to care for patients in our community and communities all over the country.  GME funding provides medical school graduates the opportunity to complete the required years of clinical residency training ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Black Lives Matter’ To Me

Between the time a 14-year-old boy was shot four times late Sunday afternoon on 7 th Street and a 20-year-old reputed gang member was killed Tuesday night on Willow Street, there appeared in my morning reading an article on “Black Lives Matter.” I read it because I mourn over what the black community continues to struggle with in both our city and our country. It is an article, ... (click for more)

Cleveland Hangs On To Beat East Hamilton, 18-15

Cleveland built an 18-0 lead – the third score came on Skyler Davis’ 91-yard interception return in the third quarter – and then had to hold on as East Hamilton mounted a comeback that fell just short in the Blue Raiders’ 18-15 victory Friday night at East Hamilton. Davis’ big defensive play gave the Blue Raiders the needed points to pull out the victory. “That was great,” ... (click for more)

Tyner Shocks Notre Dame In Overtime Thriller

Oh, what a difference a year makes. The Tyner Rams only won two football games a year ago and didn't make the playoffs for the first time in coach Wayne Turner's 24 years as their head coach. Now a season later, the Rams have equaled last year's win total, the latest being a 27-21 overtime victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a game where there were more momentum ... (click for more)