Rocky Houston arraignment met with protest

Rocky Houston (Courtesy: Knox Co. Sheriff's Office)
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -Rocky Houston was in court Wednesday for an arraignment hearing just a day after a federal grand jury indicted him and brother Leon Houston on firearm charges.

Rocky's been charged with fourteen counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The charges began in October and run to early January.

The hearing before Judge Clifford Shirley Jr. drew a large crowd and lasted about an hour.

Houston refused to be sworn in, accept a court appointed attorney or enter a plea.

He protested dozens of times, asking Judge Shirley to recuse himself due to a lawsuit Houston filed against the judge years ago. Shirley denied the request, saying there was no basis or cause to step down.

Houston continued to protest saying, "you're violating my rights," and "there is a conflict or interest."

Now, Houston is working to hire his own attorney. Court will meet back to check on that in a couple of weeks. The trial is set for March 26th.

Leon Houston will be in court Thursday for a detention hearing.

Previously reported by WVLT:

The two brothers once charged, but not convicted, with the murder of a Roane Co. deputy and his friend finally learned what charges they will face.

Rocky and Leon Houston were arrested Friday night on federal firearms charges. They were taken to the Knox Co. Jail until they could be picked up U.S. Marshalls.

Rocky Houston, 52, appeared in court on Monday morning where he was charged with Being a Convicted Felon in Possession of Firearms; while his brother, 54 Leon Houston, was set to be charged with Being an Unlawful User of Controlled Substances later in the day.

If convicted, both men face sentences of up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

According to U.S. Attorney Bill Killian, the arrests came after a joint effort of the ATF and the Roane, Knox, and Loudon County Sheriff's Offices.

“Our commitment of cooperation and support from our federal law enforcement agencies to our state and local colleagues is strong. It will remain so," said U.S. Attorney Killian.

Last August, the brothers put up a yard display of crime scene pictures Deputy Bill Jones and Mike Brown, who was a friend of Jones.

Jones and Brown were killed in a shootout after trying to serve a warrant to Rocky Houston in May of 2006.

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