Witnesses Say Trio Murdered At Lookout Valley After Clash 5 Days Before About $20 Debt

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Witnesses testified Wednesday that four people were riddled with bullets at a Lookout Valley trailer park five days after a clash behind the Food Lion on Brown's Ferry Road over a $20 debt.

Matthew Callam, the 16-year-old lone survivor of the April 9 massacre, said one of the victims pleaded for his life, but was then shot at point blank range. He said 29-year-old Caleb Boozer, after he was shot several times, said, "Please don't kill me. I don't even know ya'll." He was shot 15 times.

John "Jake" Lang, 53, who had just moved into the Kelly's Ferry Road neighborhood the day before, and 24-year-old John Morris were shot multiple times as well.

General Sessions Court Judge Christie Sell bound criminal homicide charges to the Grand Jury against Derek Morse, 19, and Skyler Hudson Allen, 22. A 15-year-old who allegedly drove a car to the scene, and another youth are charged in Juvenile Court.

It was testified that Morris, his brother-in-law, Brandon Jackson, and a friend, Dan Antoine, arranged to meet Morse at the Food Lion on April 4 over the money that was allegedly owed. Jackson, who was brought to the hearing from the Catoosa County Jail in handcuffs, said there was a crowd gathered at the grocery when they arrived armed with a tire iron and a hammer.

He said they pulled up near Morse's vehicle and got out. He said he hit the side of the Morse vehicle with his tire iron, and he said Morse responded by firing shots at them. He said they jumped back in their vehicle and drove down Brown's Ferry Road with Morse behind them firing more shots. He said he finally wrecked the vehicle in a ditch.

Callam said the night of the shooting the group had been sitting around the Lang trailer smoking marijuana and drinking beer. He said around 7 p.m. that a black vehicle drove by slowly, went up a hill and came back down. He said it stopped and Morse got out of the back and looked at John Morris. He said Morse went back into the vehicle and retrieved a rifle. He said another person came from the front passenger side with a pistol.

Both began firing multiple shots as those gathered around the trailer tried to scatter.   

He said Morse "fired 14 or 15 shots. He emptied the 22" and then got a handgun.

The teen, who was shot five times and limped into court using a cane, said after he was shot and was bleeding he tried to make his way down a hill toward his nearby home. He said he tripped on the way and his foot got caught under a rock.

He said Boozer ran past him toward a briar patch, but could not get through and had to come back out. He said the two gunmen came around a corner and shot Boozer numerous times after he pleaded for his life. That victim, like two others, had not had any involvement in the debt dispute.

Callam said the heavy-set Morris tried to crawl under the back of the trailer. He said he could hear the pair pulling him out and then shooting him numerous times. He said Morris "was waving his arms like he was panicking."

Lang was found dead in a chair in front of his trailer.One of his wounds was a bullet in the head to the left side of his ear.

Callam, who was shot in the arm, shoulder, leg, back and neck, said at one point Morse said, "Make sure they're all dead." He said after that he tried to play dead so they would not shoot him again.

He said he eventually was able to drag himself to the doorstep of his house and get his mother to hear his cries. 

Callam said Morse had formerly lived nearby and he said he had seen Allen several times. He said he recognized Morse as one of the shooters, but could not identify Allen as being at the scene.

Dennis McNabb said he was at his Lookout Valley home at 6:15 p.m. on April 9 when Morse and a young boy drove up to where Allen was living next door with his (McNabb's) daughter. He said they went inside, then Morse and Allen came out with guns. He said they left at 6:25 p.m.

The witness said he didn't care for Allen, saying he played video games and wouldn't work. He said he "thought he knew more than anybody else."

Brandon Jackson, who earlier served time in prison out of Bradley County on a charge involving a 17-year-old girl and is now facing charges including child abuse, said he saw the start of the incident. He told of seeing the black car drive up the hill and then down and the pair getting out with guns. He said Morse was one of the gunmen.

In the incident at Food Lion, he said he and Morse went along "because we owed it to Dan" to help him settle his beef about "getting ripped off."

Lt. Henry Ritter said numerous 22 shell casings were found by the road at the shooting scene. He said multiple 380 and 40 caliber casings were found away from the road.

He said officers recovered video of Morse, Allen and the teen at several spots soon after the incident, including at America's Best Inn and Suites in Lookout Valley where Morse's black Hyundai was found.

The detective said Morse was located at 4:30 a.m. on the 10th at a female's house at the foot of Elder Mountain. He said the clothes he had worn that night were found, and there was a 22 live round in one pocket.

He said the trio went to the farm of the grandmother of the juvenile, and she states they got there at 7:15 p.m. He said it is possible to drive from the crime scene to the farm in 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 More to follow. . .

   


Family Makes Treasure Trove Of Early Chattanooga Photographs Available For Book; Stokes Collection Has Been Passed Down To Descendants

A treasure trove of Chattanooga photographs that have been passed down in the Stokes family for generations has now been assembled in an upcoming book. Chattanooga Around The Turn Of The Century: The Remarkable Stokes Collection will be published by Chattanoogan.com. Pre-orders are now being taken for the book, which includes over 700 photos on large-size pages. Publisher ... (click for more)

Sharply-Divided City Council Approves Office Reorganization; Councilman Freeman Calls Move "Evil, Hellish"

A sharply-divided City Council on Tuesday voted 5-4 to completely reorganize the council office, leaving current staffers without a job down the road but with the option to reapply. Councilman Moses Freeman called the move "evil" and "hellish." He said, "We are punishing somebody on a personal level," though he said the office has been running smoothly. Saying the majority ... (click for more)

How To Reform The City Industrial Development Board - And Response (3)

My aims is to bring to the public’s attention the need for procedural changes that, if implemented, would significantly improve the information available the public, to the City Council and to the City Industrial Development Board about the verifiable benefits and costs of tax incentive financing structures and to make the entire process transparent. The public, the City ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: He Can Never Go Home

When Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston sparked top-ranked Florida State to a 56-41 comeback over N.C. State last Saturday, you would have thought the world had forgotten and virtually excused his vulgar rant from the week before. His inexcusable mid-week antics kept him sidelined during the Clemson game and brought down the nation’s scorn but less than a week later he was ... (click for more)

Baylor Impressive In Volleyball Sweep Of Signal Mountain

Baylor coach Sarah Lail paused briefly before saying that she's seen her Lady Red Raider volleyball team play better than they did on Monday, but they did just about everything right as they celebrated Senior Night with an impressive 3-0 victory over the Signal Mountain Lady Eagles. It was a meeting of two of the top three teams in Chattanooga -- too bad that Ooltewah couldn't ... (click for more)

Basketball, Wrestling Mocs Host Ball N' Brawl

It’s party time in the Scenic City. Chattanooga’s team is sending some of its best to close down 3rd Street on Friday, October 10, for Ball N’ Brawl. This inaugural event features the men’s and women’s basketball programs along with the wrestling team. “This was an idea coaches Heath Eslinger (wrestling) and Will Wade (men’s basketball) came up with,” Director of Marketing and ... (click for more)