Families Await Trial in Shooting Death of Roane Lawman, Friend

Kingston, Roane County (WVLT) - In no more than two weeks, we will know, whether two Roane County brothers have been judged mentally fit to be tried for murder.

But Thursday night, sources confirmed to Volunteer News that at least one brother will face trial.

Volunteer TV's Gordon Boyd looks at what that could mean for Rocky and Leon Houston.

We're still waiting for word on Rocky Houston, but a look at the court files, and a talk with one victim's family, hint that this finding won't move the case along any faster.

"It wasn't Christmas. It wasn't Christmas at all, cause my son had been with me 43 years, my first born son wasn't with me," Pat Brown finds little consolation, in reports that Leon Houston has been found competent to face trial, and possibly death -- if convicted of killing her son Mike,
and his friend, Roane County Sheriff's deputy Bill Jones.

"They are always a circus. They're gonna fire their lawyers, they're gonna bring up lawsuits, they're gonna do anything that will give them more time," says Brown.

Despite fortress-like security, with officers in battle fatigues, the Houstons started trying to control their fate, before their first day in court. Asking for, and getting a special judge to preside, then petitioning to bounce the prosecutor on grounds he'd defended them in earlier criminal cases.

That move was rendered moot when the prosecutor lost his re-election bid.

With all that, the case file is becoming as thick as the Knoxville white pages.

The past couple months, Rocky and Leon Houston have taken to filing their own motions, in their own hand.

Leon's latest demand his charges be dropped, on grounds he's been denied due process rights.

He's naming the trial judge as a witness, so he wants him replaced too. Ditto, the new Prosecutor and his staff, on grounds they're too close to his witnesses.

So he's asking Tennessee's Supreme Court to name a new judge, prosecutor and court clerk.

While she waits, pat brown clutches the mementos, mike's blue heeler jasmine, the turquoise ring he bought the weekend before he died.

"We have to live with what the justice system tells us we do," says Brown. "God, that's all we have. We have our faith. We will see him again."

Lawyers for both houston brothers are saying little beyond what's in their court motions, other than that prosecutors allegations, namely, that their clients ambushed two lawmen trying to serve a warrant aren't all that they appear to be.

Mental evaluations are expected back by mid-january. Likely to delay any push toward trial to late spring.