By David in TN
In the latest news from Knoxville, defense attorneys, Tom Dillard and Stephen Ross Johnson have fired back at Knox County District Attorney General Randy Nichols' allegations of unethical conduct by Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood with their own accusations. Supposedly, Nichols and his staff hid information about disgraced Judge Richard Baumgartner's misdeeds while Baumgartner was presiding over the Christian-Newsom case.
Dillard and Johnson are the attorneys for George Thomas. They argue "a motion to recuse should have been filed years ago in this case concerning Judge Baumgartner."
Blackwood has ordered new trials for the defendants in the Knoxville Horror torture-murders because of revelations that Baumgartner "was a chronic alcoholic and pill addict who used a felon on probation in his court to procure pills and using a graduate of his Drug Court to garner sex and pills."
"A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe showed that much of Baumgartner's crimes were committed while he was still helming the Christian-Newsom case."
It appears Baumgartner was secretly advised to take treatment for alcohol addiction before those trials began. Knox County legal authorities allowed Baumgartner to preside over the most heinous murder case in Knoxville history, even though they knew his health and self-control were not of the best.
Dillard and Johnson also contend that Nichols and his staff kept these revelations secret from the defense lawyers in the Christian-Newsom case.
Nichols' special counsel, John Gill, said, "We didn't realize the extent of the problem."
Judge Blackwood had originally ordered the retrial for "alleged" ringleader Lemaricus Davidson to begin on June 11. If the Knox County DA had not challenged the decision, the Davidson trial would probably be over now. As it is, it is still up in the air. The back-and-forth that has gone on now for several weeks helps only the killers.