Billy Hawk Deciding Which Attorney To Use In Retrial

Monday, May 20, 2019

Billy Hawk, who was given a new trial after being convicted of a murder that happened 35 years ago, is deciding which lawyer to use this time around.

In an appearance before Criminal Court Judge Don Poole on Monday, he was with attorneys Frank Lannom and Melanie Bean of Lebanon, Tn.

However, attorney Lannom said they had not yet been retained.

Judge Poole gave Hawk until June 21 to come up with a lawyer.

He remains in jail under a $600,000 bond on the charge involving the murder of Johnny Mack Salver. Hawk was sentenced to life in prison after his conviction in June 2016. His bond earlier was $500,000.

Judge Poole said he "raised it slightly" after the jury conviction.


The 1981 cold case murder had been reopened in 2015 after almost 35 years of silence. Witness testimony in the trial ranged from expert forensics agents to friends and family of both Hawk and Salyer.

Judge Poole, who granted the new trial, said testimony by Cleveland attorney Jim Logan "that he made mistakes but the other defense lawyers made non-tactical mistakes amounting to ineffective assistance of counsel is troubling."

He said attorney Logan was Hawk's first lawyer and "was clearly upset" when Hawk later chose Chattanooga attorney Bill Speek as his lead counsel. 

The judge added, "As long as a lawyer continues to represent a client, however, he should participate fully in decision making and, if certain things are not done or should be done, he should take an active role in making sure those things are done. If he cannot do this, the appropriate course would seem to be to withdraw from the case. It is sincerely hoped that any lawyer who goes to trial does his best to ensure that his client receives a fair trial."

Judge Poole said the main reason he decided to grant a new trial was based on "acts and omissions" relating to witness Terry Slaughter, a former Chattanooga Police detective who later was charged and convicted in Federal Court.

The judge noted that former District Attorney Gary Gerbitz was called as a witness and was critical of Slaughter's credibility, calling him "a crooked cop" and a liar. He said there was a heated exchange between witness Gerbitz and current District Attorney Neal Pinkston, who then asked if he was aware that Slaughter had passed lie detector tests. He said former DA Gerbitz replied, "I don't know that at all."  The judge said the questions about the polygraph tests were inappropriate and bolstered Slaughter's credibility.

The state’s narrative claimed Hawk, possibly fearing Salyer would testify against him in court after a drug-related arrest, shot the victim, stuffed him inside a steel barrel, and dropped him in the Tennessee River."

The defense contended that the majority of witness testimony was unreliable due to the number of years that had passed since the slaying.

They also pointed out several pieces of valuable evidence that had been lost or destroyed, including the barrel itself.


Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Georgia Coronavirus Cases Near 44,000; 47 New Deaths For Total Of 1,895; Whitfield Tops 300 Cases; Walker Goes Over 100

State Supreme Court Opens Door For Resumption Of Jury Trials In Early July


Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: ADAMS, JOSEPH LEBRON SLAYTON DRIVE CHATTANOOGA, Age at Arrest: 34 years old Arresting Agency: East Ridge Booked for Previous Charges ... (click for more)

Georgia state health officials reported on Tuesday there have been 1,895 people in the state who have died from the coronavirus - 47 more since Monday. The confirmed cases are now at 43,983 ... (click for more)

The State Supreme Court has issued a new order that would open the way for the resumption of jury trials in early July. The order says jurors should bring masks to jury duty and court personnel ... (click for more)



Breaking News

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: ADAMS, JOSEPH LEBRON SLAYTON DRIVE CHATTANOOGA, Age at Arrest: 34 years old Arresting Agency: East Ridge Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- ARRINGTON, REGINALD JR 1850 S BYRE ROAD APT 5 TOLEDO, 43614 Age at Arrest: 32 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County RESISTING STOP, FRIST, HALT, ARREST ... (click for more)

Georgia Coronavirus Cases Near 44,000; 47 New Deaths For Total Of 1,895; Whitfield Tops 300 Cases; Walker Goes Over 100

Georgia state health officials reported on Tuesday there have been 1,895 people in the state who have died from the coronavirus - 47 more since Monday. The confirmed cases are now at 43,983 up from 43,400 - an increase of 583. Hospitalizations are at 7,640 - up 133 since Monday. Whitfield County has 20 new cases for a total of 303, and seven deaths. Twenty-three have been ... (click for more)

Opinion

Remembering Mendon John Price

It was sad to see that Mendon John Price had passed away. He was the wheelchair bound street musician that many of you saw outside of the Lookouts games and the Tivoli events. He would be playing his harmonica. He once was cited in front of me for panhandling and blocking traffic on the street or sidewalk down where the Lookouts play. Fortunately for him, he came in front ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Child Of World War II

I am a child of World War II. Actually, I was born four years after the Japanese surrender – the 75 th anniversary of which will be celebrated this summer – but in my formative years I can very distinctly remember sitting on the floor of DeSales Harrison’s family room at the foot of Lookout Mountain’s East Brow Road and holding the Gendaito (a type of Samurai sword) that ‘Dee’ accepted ... (click for more)

Sports

Fulmer Issues Statement On SEC Decision To Allow Return To Activity By Student-Athletes

Tennessee Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer provided the following response to the SEC decision to allow student-athletes to return to campuses: Southeastern Conference leadership on Friday voted to allow voluntary, in-person athletics activities on league campuses starting Monday, June 8. Each SEC institution will make localized decisions regarding when and how student-athletes ... (click for more)

Randy Smith: Baseball And Memorial Day

Memorial Day 2020 is in the books and it was one of the very best holidays I have ever spent. All of my kids and grandkids came to our house. They swam from noon until after 8 p.m., hardly getting out of the pool to eat at all. My son Davey has become quite the chef and he prepared smoked chickens and ribs on the smoker. My daughter Christi made her usual fabulous dishes including ... (click for more)