Judge Dismisses All Charges Against Tawana Blair In 1999 Cleveland Triple Murder; Attorney Davis Says She Is "Victim"

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A special judge has dismissed all charges against Tawana "Tart"  Blair in the 1999 triple murder in Cleveland, Tn.

Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood, in a 13-page ruling, noted that a jury in 2009 had deadlocked on most of the charges facing Ms. Blair. Then she faced new charges four years later.

The state at one time was seeking the death penalty against her.

Judge Blackwood also removed former prosecutor Richard Fisher from the case and put Steve Crump in his place.

After the jury deadlock in 2009, Judge Amy Reedy proceeded to dismiss all counts of first-degree murder and second-degree murder (three of each) against Ms. Blair.

Ms. Blair had been shot herself in the Valentine's Day triple slaying along with the three people who died - O.J. Blair, 18; Cayci Higgins, 19; and Dawn Rogers, 25.

The judge also acquitted Ms. Blair on especially aggravated robbery charges.

The only remaining charge had been facilitation of murder.

Her attorney, Lee Davis of Chattanooga, said, “In 2009 Tawana Blair was acquitted of all charges after a jury trial.  Today Judge Blackwood again dismissed all charges against her in this latest prosecution launched in 2014 by District Attorney Steve Bebb and carried forward by assistant Richard Fisher.  Tawana Blair is not guilty and never was guilty of anything in this case. Tawana Blair is a victim in this horrible tragedy.

"On Valentine’s Day in 1999 she was shot in the back and left for dead, while her cousin and two friends lay murdered in the next room.  Over the last 15 years Ms. Blair has been subjected to multiple indictments and a jury trial.  At every turn she has been vindicated as not being involved in these senseless murders. With today’s order again dismissing all charges against her, we hope the matter is finally concluded.”

Maurice Johnson earlier was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life without parole.

Michael Younger went to trial, but a mistrial was declared based on prosecutorial misconduct.

Click here to read the order of dismissal.
 


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AR-RAHMAAN, CHRISTIANA ALISA 632 MAPLE STREET COURT APT 226 CHATTANOOGA, 37402 23 Hamilton County VIOLATION OF PROBATION (POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA) BINFORD, JUSTIN TAYLOR 6712 DIXIELAND DR HIXSON, 37343 26 Red Bank POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA BINGHAM, TIFFANY TENNILLE 211 HILLCREST ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Railroad Series: Sweetwater Recreating Its Old Train Station

The hostess at Hunter's Bakery and Cafe in an old bank by the tracks in downtown Sweetwater said the town no longer has its railroad station. "I think they are sorry now they tore it down," she said. But Mayor Doyle Lowe decided to do something about it after he took office as mayor. A $335,000 state grant was secured to build a replica of the original depot. It will serve as ... (click for more)

We Need The Chattanooga History Center

Having been on several of Dr. Daryl Black's walking tours, I can say that they weren't just informative, but a treat. The downtown, Fort Wood and Ninth Street of yesteryear were brought dramatically to life. We stood on the ground where Sherman had his headquarters (near the Ice Cream Show) and the corner where Bessie Smith sang as a young girl. And we also stood beneath the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Big (Un)Easy: Mardi Gras

Not since Hurricane Katrina has New Orleans had a bigger problem. When over a million visitors flood the city for the annual Mardi Gras bash over the next three weeks, there will be signs all around town and into the French Quarter that blare, “CAUTION: Walk In Large Groups. We (heart symbol) love NOPD. We Just Need More Of Them.” In other words, it appears things are quite unsettled ... (click for more)

No. 25 UTC Women Defeat Samford, 49-32

“I think it’s great for grade school kids all over the country because they will learn how to spell Chattanooga because it will be in their local paper. That’s the best thing about it. There are Chattanooga graduates all over the place and they can pick up and go to the agate page and see if Sportscenter knows how to spell.” -- UTC women’s basketball coach Jim Foster ... (click for more)

Baylor Wrestlers Set to Defend State Duals Title

Ranked No.1 in this week's wrestling poll and boasting a 22-1 season dual match record, Baylor is the favorite to win the TSSAA D-II state duals this weekend at the Williamson County Ag Expo in Franklin. Friday Jan. 30 - Baylor opens with tourney against Brentwood Academy at 3:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals and a win puts them in Friday night semis (8:30 p.m. EST) ... (click for more)