TN Supreme Court upholds Knoxville man's murder conviction

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Tennessee Supreme Court unanimously rejected a Knoxville man's claims that police didn't have enough probable cause to search his home and that his conviction should be reversed because of several errors made during the trial.

The verdict overturns a ruling by the Criminal Court of Appeals that authorities should not have searched Travis Kinte Echols home and a statement he made to police should not have been included in the trial. The appellate court upheld the guilty verdict because it determined the improper admission of the statement had no effect on the final verdict.

Echols was arrested a few days after Robert Steely's body was found in the parking lot of the Townview Towers apartment complex. Acting on a tip from a resident, authorities took Echols into custody.

Echols waived his right to remain silent and admitted to shooting Steely, though he claimed he was acting in self-defense. Echols also claimed self-defense during the trial, but was found guilty of felony murder during the perpetration of a robbery.

In its verdict, the Supreme Court did agree that the trial judge improperly restricted the cross-examination of the two witnesses who testified against Echols, but said the judge's error didn't effect the outcome of the trial.