Houston Trial (Update)

Submitted by WhitesCreek on December 10, 2008 - 8:19am.

Update 12-11 9:50 am: Link...

The bullets fired at Rocky Joe Houston and his brother could have come from a moving patrol car, a ballistics expert testified today.

That's a huge blow to the prosecution's case

From KNS:

A search of Jones' car turned up extra bullets, various guns in the trunk and no copies of any warrant for either of the Houston brothers, Royse testified. Prosecutors say the deputy went to the home to serve a bench warrant for Rocky Houston, while the brothers say he came as part of a years-long police harassment campaign.

I've heard various explainations of the "warrant". Can anybody fill us in on what the "Failure to appear" warrant was actually about?

It should be noted that at any one moment, there are hundreds and hundreds of ""failure to appear" warrants active on Roane County citizens. There was one on me in Rockwood, at one point, due to a clerical error in the city court clerk's department.


FTA - Failure to Appear Warrants

Generally (not always - but generally) take the form of a paper called a capias. That word comes from the Latin term meaning to take or seize. It is the imperative form of the verb, making it a command - "you take". It is a command from the issuing judge to bring the "body" of the subject named in the warrant or paper before said judge/court. They can be served with knowledge that the paper exists (not rumor - knowledge). Such information may be gained by checking with the office physically holding the paper - having it in hand - such as the Sheriff's Dept, court clerk, etc.

I don't know what that specific FTA warrant was about. They can carry various bonds, or, it can fairly frequently be the case that there is no bond available, since the paper was generated by someone under bond failing to appear in the first place.

RB

WhitesCreek's picture
Mine was for a dismissed traffic citation

That was incorrectly processed in the clerk's office. I didn't even know it existed. Good thing it worked out ok...

The point being that these things vary in seriousness and it is up to the Sheriff to decide which ones reach the level of seriousness that deserves they be enforced. This one did not reach that level, apparently, but I would still like to know what it was for.

this goes back to a story i

this goes back to a story i heard years ago.The old farmer had five hundread achers.And 2 young boys it was time for the developers to strike but how do you get your hands on all that land.Of course you use the police.A trafic ticket here and there a speeding ticket.eventually you have to have big attorney money so you sell a little to the the big developer then a little more.and eventually its all gone.This smeels like a land deal gone bad.

How exactly is that a HUGE blow?

The forensic expert testified to exactly the same thing in Leon's trial.

I realize from WC's many postings on the Houston case (Rocky's current and Leon's previous) that he leans toward anything that seems favorable to the Houston's defense theories but his logic seems to fail his own commonly cited "critical thinking" tests of reasonable sense.

Yes, the TBI forensic expert did state that the shots fired by Deputy Jones and Mike Brown COULD have been fired from a moving vehicle. That of course equally means that the bullets COULD have been fired from a stationary vehicle. The expert has said that he has no way of determing either way. Yet WC would have you believe (and apparetly chooses to believe himself) that since the possibility exist that the shots may have been fired from a moving vehicle that must be so. I also note WC's excerpt from the KNS (who WC claims can't get their facts correct in other reports on Roane County criminal conduct yet apparently has no problem citing them to support his opinion {couldn't resist the jab there}) that states no copies of any warrants were found in the trunk of Jones's patrol vehicle (as if that is where they would be) yet leaves out the fact that Jones's body armour was also in the trunk.

However, let's use some of WC's own "critical thinking" to look at this scenario based on the evidence available from both trials.

1. Rocky shows up at Leon's house with an assault rifle (and yes I agree that is his right to do so).

2. Rocky is visibly upset and asks if Leon has seen the police car driving by.

3. Rocky tells Leon that if they (the police) come back "it is on".

4. The police do come back and pull up to the house.

5. Rocky (described as agitated and already demonstrating behavior that suggests he is ready for a fight) steps off the porch with the assault rifle as he says "it's on now".

6. Shots are fired by Rocky and Leon at the patrol car from various positions. Shots are fired from the patrol car by Jones and Brown. No one can say with any certainty who actually fired first.

Those are the accounts as relayed by at least one of the multiple witnesses present on the porch with Rocky and Leon that day. The fact about who fired first was not clear from the testimony.

So, to beleive as WC appears, you have to come to the conclusion that Deputy Jones with Mike Brown, a willing accomplice, decided to drive by the residence multiple times. Observed Rocky, Leon, and the 2-4 other people alleged to have been present and decide that he and Mike Brown would open fire in broad daylight from a moving marked police vehicle on Rocky, Leon, and apparenly anyone else present with the hopes that from a moving vehicle they could eliminate Rocky and Leon despite the fact that Rocky was armed with a superior weapon and all of the people on the porch including Rocky and Leon had the benefit of being able to move to cover or even flee in any number of directions which would made their original goal of killing Rocky and Leon extremely difficult. All the while Deputy Jones knowing that he has much better firepower available to him in his trunk as well as body armour. Does this sound like a reasonable conclusion to reach after critical thought?

Now granted you have to completely discount Rocky's attitude and actions in order to beleive that the previous hypothetical is the logical conclusion. Because if you add Rocky's behavior to the equation then a much more logical series of events would follow that after Deputy Jones and Mike Brown had driven by the house and confirmed that Rocky and Leon were present they turned to come back to the house. Once Rocky (remember armed and agitated) sees the police car he steps off the porch (saying "it's on now") and moves toward the car in what would be reasonable to assume was in an aggressive manner. Seeing this Deputy Jones and Mike Brown may very well have drawn their weapons and even taken shots at Rocky. Or Rocky could have even fired first again we have no way of knowing. At some point shots are exchanged and the fuel line of the patrol car is severed essentially rendering Jones and Brown easy targets. At which point Rocky and Leon have a shoot out with the officers and then well after any threat the officer may have posed continued to execute Jones and Brown with close-range shots to the head. Also remember that Brown was paralyzed from an earlier round and lay on the road unable to move when his final rounds are delivered to his head and Jones held an empty weapon.

So which account is more reasonable after critcal thought?

As RB pointed out only knowledge of the existence of the capias is required for any law enforcement officer to serve it. The fact that Jones did not have a copy of the capias in no way invalidates his attempt to serve it. That is simply the defense attempting to muddy up the facts in order to give the perception that there was something improper in Jones even going to the residence. The defense is counting on the ignorance of the general population about how process is served. Apparently it has worked on at least one person.

KnightLord's picture
2. Rocky is visibly upset

2. Rocky is visibly upset and asks if Leon has seen the police car driving by.

Why was Rocky "visibly upset"?

Was there a history of undue police surveillance on the Houstons?

5. Rocky (described as agitated and already demonstrating behavior that suggests he is ready for a fight) steps off the porch with the assault rifle as he says "it's on now".

The more I think about just these statements, the more this begins to sound like a feud, with neither side using any smarts.

6. Shots are fired by Rocky and Leon at the patrol car from various positions. Shots are fired from the patrol car by Jones and Brown. No one can say with any certainty who actually fired first.

Between Rocky saying, "It is on, now." and shots being fired, there are several things I really don't understand.

1) Dep. Jones and Mr. Brown, in the patrol car, pull into the driveway with Rocky standing {I assume} in the yard holding an assault rifle. This doesn't make sense to me; Dep. Jones may have been wearing body armor, but Mr. Brown probably wasn't. I would assume that if Jones suspected any danger to his passenger, he would have left the premises immediately. Failure to do so indicates this was something other than a routine serving of a warrant. On the other hand, if Rocky began firing from cover {not visible to Jones}, again Jone's first duty would be to his passenger, so immediate retreat and safeguarding Mr. Brown. Since this is not indicated either, I am back to something other than a routine serving of a warrant.

2) The second statement above {2)} indicates an elevated awareness of police presence. Considering the area patrolled {Roane County}, and assuming the force available for those patrols, unless the Houstons lived on a commonly traveled road seeing a patrol car even once per day might raise suspicions in their minds, and be perceived as "intimidation".

Let me make clear that I know very little about this case, other than local TV coverage and posts on this forum. I am truly unbiased because I don't know enough on either side to be biased.

3) As I recall, the patrol car was still in the driveway when the shooting was over. If true, this does seem to indicate a "stand your ground" mentality on the part of the deputy, putting his passenger at risk. However, I've gotten the impression that Mr. Brown participated in the "shoot out". Again, if true, Mr. Brown cannot be considered just a "ride along", or passenger, but an intentional addition to the scenario.

4) As stated before, if this stop was only to serve a warrant and take Rocky into custody, and if the Houstons initiated fire, the deputy should have exited the premises immediately. Instead, assuming that Rocky and/or Leon initiated fire, Jones returned fire, and presumably so did Mr. Brown. Perhaps logical on the surface, but the problem I have with this is really quite simple. Sit in a car, seat belt buckled, and try to remove a cell phone from your right pants pocket. A holstered weapon would be almost as difficult to remove in an emergency situation. Add to that all the equipment around the driver in any patrol car and the confined area both driver and passenger have to function. Also noting that it seems impossible to determine who fired first, and it would seem that Mr. Brown or/and Deputy Jones already had weapons out and ready.

There are other aspects that don't add up, but these will do for now. No matter how it's sliced and diced, neither side seems to be guilty of being smart about any of this. If you'll pardon the gross characterizations; the range of possibilities seems to go from "Redneck Freedom Fighter" to "Cop with delusions of god-hood". The truth is usually somewhere in the middle, but I would conclude that the deputy and Mr. Brown arrived at the Houston's with weapons already drawn and ready. Perhaps to display for intimidation purposes, a lapse in judgment that cost these men their lives.

The possibility of shots fired from the patrol car from multiple locations {car in motion} would support this conclusion. If this is true as well, then the fact that the patrol car pulled into the driveway, instead of leaving to protect Mr. Brown, would seem to indicate that the "shoot out" was initiated by those in the patrol car.

There is also the matter of the missing warrant. The warrant must be shown to the one being served, this falls under the right to be faced by one's accuser, and the warrant is a legal extension of the accuser and the court. No warrant, no reason for Deputy Jones to have been there, and in essence he was trespassing on private property. Officers of the law are not above the law, lest they be perceived as criminals themselves.

I covet any corrections and additional information that may be available in this case.

Knight

Knightlord,While I

Knightlord,

While I appreciate your comments and your honesty in saying that you don't know much about the case that was apparent in your assumptions. I am not trying to be condescending but let me shed some light on a few of your incorrect statements regarding this case.

1. As to why Rocky was "visibly upset" he has long felt that a massive government conspiracy existed against him that reaches all the way to the President of the United States. The origins of his paranoid delusions comes from a late 90s car accident in which some fault was found by him with the insurance company. In his mind all of his legal troubles since have been the result of his supposed uncovering of insurance fraud culminating (as he believes) in a conspiracy to kill him in order to silence him. On a side note How he continues to be found competent escapes me. The witness who was with Rocky on the porch described him as upset just prior to the shooting.

2. I won't argue that there could have been better ways to resolve the service of this warrant but it is always easier to second guess with the luxury of hind-sight. However, Jones had a duty to perform and was trying to perform that duty. I have no doubt that had he known what was going to happen that he never would have pulled up to the house.

3. Rocky was standing on the porch with the assault rifle. There is no way to know at what point Jones realized that Rocky was armed. Rocky steps off the porch toward the police car with the "it's on now" comment. Deputy Jones was NOT wearing body armor. His vest was locked in his trunk along with several other more ideal weapons for confronting a man holding an assault rifle. The more logical assumption here is that Jones was unaware of Rocky being armed based on those FACTS. Jones was UNABLE to retreat because as the forensics expert testified one of the first rounds fired by Rocky severed the fuel line on the patrol car. As that car is fuel injected then as soon as the fuel line was cut the car had no capability of movement.

I don't understand how you feel that because Jones pulled into the driveway he had sinister intentions and was not trying to serve a warrant. How other than pulling up to the house of the person on whom you have a warrant would you suggest accomplishing the goal of serving the warrant? To me the fact that he did pull right up front of the house is a sure sign that his intention was to arrest Rocky. There were 2-4 other people on the porch with Rocky at this time. If you think that Jones had hatched some plan to kill Rocky that dat don't you think it would have included a slightly higher probability of success than pulling up to him in broad daylight in full view of multiple witnesses?

4. Rocky may well have felt intimidated by the police presence but that doesn't give him the right to execute Deputy Jones and Mike Brown.

5. As I stated before the car was unable to be moved so Jones and Brown had no choice at the point when the car was disabled but to stand and fight. Brown would have every right to defend himself in this situation so to vilify him for his actions while excusing what could be argued as the same actions by Rocky and Leon is a little confusing.

6. The removal of a weapon from a holster would indeed be more difficult than while standing. However, that brings me to a point I have failed to mention before. Jones was shot in the left leg by HIS own weapon. The bullet entered from the right and exited the left which indicates the round was fired from Jones's right to left at a downward angle. The only logical conclusion that I can draw from that fact is that as Jones pulled up to the house he began to take fire. Jones at that point draws his weapon and begins firing in a panicked state as he is being fired upon. That accounts for the self-inflicted shot to the leg and would be consistent with a seated driver drawing from his holster. If Jones had already had his weapon drawn then it would be very hard to explain how he shot himself in the leg at that angle. To me that indicates as well as anything that Rocky was firing on the patrol car as it pulled up to the house. Surely if Brown had already drawn his weapon as some part of a plan by Jones to shoot Rocky then why wouldn't Jones have alrady had his weapon at the ready as well? Why wouldn't he have put on his vest or even, as you suggest, provided the vest to Brown as protection. Or why wouldn't he have secured one of the better suited weapons from the trunk of his vehicle? All of these are logical decisions that Jones with his extensive military training would have considered had he truly went to Rocky and Leon's looking for a fight.

7. Again your logic about how the shots fired from the patrol car indicate that the officers fired first escapes me. But even if they had fired first (which I do find hard to believe) it is irrelevant given the actions of Rocky. The officer's have the right to defend themselves against any imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury. They would not have to wait to be fired upon in order to protect themselves as long as they perceived such a threat. Rocky charging toward them with an assault rifle would certainly qualify as such a threat in my eyes.

8. The warrant would have had to be shown to Rocky at some point but absolutely IS NOT required to be in the possession of the arresting officer at the time of the arrest.

I hope this helped you understand some of the incorrect assumptions that you have made. I did of course sprinkle in my own opinions but gave you the facts to support those opinions from the evidence presented at the trials and not from reports in the local papers.

KnightLord's picture
1) He may feel there is a

1) He may feel there is a conspiracy to silence him, but that doesn't make him "crazy" or mentally incompetent. Insurance companies are notorious for finding ways not to pay on claims, and those "hurt" by this practice tend to perceive it as they will. Ruby Ridge, and other incidents of official excesses tend to bolster and support such perceptions.

A correlation I have to note is that you know about his attitude, would not Deputy Jones have known of it as well? It would seem that precautions might have been taken to diffuse this situation from the Sheriff's office, but this IS hindsight, though it would have been good judgment.

There is something else here, and I appreciate you trying to address it, but you just don't. It is reported that Rocky was agitated. No matter the degree of paranoia, or whatever you wish to call it, no one stays that way 24/7/365. Did Deputy Jones attempt to serve the warrant elsewhere, or did something else happen?

2) As I have no first hand knowledge of the events, it is easy to say that I am indulging in speculation based on hindsight, and there is no defense I can offer to you that I am not. What I am trying to do is put this puzzle together for myself, not to determine guilt or innocence, but just what happened. I have made no determinations about this event, only speculated on what the evidence suggests. I have no dog in this race other than curiosity, so I have no position or opinion. It is fruitless to suggest otherwise.

3. Rocky was standing on the porch with the assault rifle. There is no way to know at what point Jones realized that Rocky was armed. Rocky steps off the porch toward the police car with the "it's on now" comment. Deputy Jones was NOT wearing body armor. His vest was locked in his trunk along with several other more ideal weapons for confronting a man holding an assault rifle. The more logical assumption here is that Jones was unaware of Rocky being armed based on those FACTS. Jones was UNABLE to retreat because as the forensics expert testified one of the first rounds fired by Rocky severed the fuel line on the patrol car. As that car is fuel injected then as soon as the fuel line was cut the car had no capability of movement.

Rocky steps off the porch in view of the patrol car? If so, Jones was being very unobservant not to notice the assault rifle in Rocky's hands. Was the rifle set to semi-automatic, or full automatic? Did he shoot from the hip, or shoulder? Bruising would answer these questions. Jones was not wearing body armor, which argues he was unprepared for the events that followed, and did not anticipate an undue response, but I've noticed that virtually all officers wear body armor, and have for a good many years. I believe it is required, like shirt, pants, and skivvies {can I say skivvies in here?}. If Jones did assume that Rocky was unarmed, then the kindest I can be in saying this is that he was lackadaisical in his assessment of his job, or had reason not to anticipate the shoot out. The latter seems unlikely, but none-the-less worthy of note.

It would seem to me that early shots would be centered on the passenger compartment, not the engine. However, I also know nothing of his marksmanship, or the setting on the rifle. I'll assume this was a "lucky" {poor choice of words, but none else come to mind} shot.

As I have pointed out, I don't believe or disbelieve that Jones had sinister intentions, I only note what the evidence suggests. These notations will change, one way or the other, as I acquire more information. I'm just wanting to see where it leads.

To me the fact that he did pull right up front of the house is a sure sign that his intention was to arrest Rocky. There were 2-4 other people on the porch with Rocky at this time. If you think that Jones had hatched some plan to kill Rocky that dat don't you think it would have included a slightly higher probability of success than pulling up to him in broad daylight in full view of multiple witnesses?

Perhaps you're right. I'll agree that if Jones had sinister intent, he really should have planned it better, been more prepared, and of course survived the encounter. However, that too is speculation, on both our parts.

4. Rocky may well have felt intimidated by the police presence but that doesn't give him the right to execute Deputy Jones and Mike Brown.

Agreed, but he didn't execute them. He did kill them. The question at hand is, was it murder? If, on the other hand, you are implying that citizens do not have the right to protect themselves from others, including those in law enforcement, I must say that you would be gravely mistaken in that implication.

5. As I stated before the car was unable to be moved so Jones and Brown had no choice at the point when the car was disabled but to stand and fight. Brown would have every right to defend himself in this situation so to vilify him for his actions while excusing what could be argued as the same actions by Rocky and Leon is a little confusing.

What I find confusing is an officer of the law allowing a loaded weapon in his patrol car that is not under his direct control. I asserted no rights to Rocky, that are not also Mr. Brown's. That Mr. Brown had a loaded hand gun in a patrol car is what I find strange, and a clear indication that some are "more equal than others". Were I in Mr. Brown's place, I doubt I'd be allowed a BB gun, let alone a 9 mil.

In (6) you give good substantive information that has real teeth! Consider this scenario:
Rocky is walking fast, perhaps trotting, toward the vehicle. He has not fired yet. Jones, recognizes the rifle {Military training}, and feels threatened enough to draw his pistol. His elbow impacts some of the "junk" that surrounds the driver's cockpit, hitting his "funny bone" {the ulnar nerve}, causing his hand to convulse, firing the shot into his leg. Hearing this shot, Rocky thinks he's being fired upon and opens fire. Mr. Brown also draws his pistol at the same time, perhaps exacerbating the situation further, and the shoot out ensues. Who fired the first shot? Deputy Jones, at himself, by accident. The witnesses don't know because though they heard it, they saw no evidence of it anywhere near them, so they begin making assumptions. Deputy Jones shoots Rocky in the stomach to disable him, but Mr. Brown is probably firing wildly as he empties his magazine, but seems to hit nothing other than trees and the house.

This fits all the evidence, except for the bullets fired from a, presumably, moving target at the house. If Jones did put the car in reverse and attempt to leave the scene, this might account for those as well. With the fuel line severed, the car wouldn't go very far, but might have moved enough to cause this evidence as well.

====================================================================

I'm not saying this is what happened, but to my mind it does fit both sides well enough, and accounts for the evidence presented. It wouldn't be the first time a huge "OH CRAP!!" turned tragic. We may never know what did actually happen, but there is ground enough in the middle, in common sense, that we don't have to beat each other up over it.

Thank you. I am now biased, though not to one side or the other. RV, I appreciate your time and trouble, and I thank you for it.

Knight

Rocky was visibly upset

Rocky was visibly upset because the patrol car had been making DOZENS of passing's a day for weeks. Myself,along with other neighbors are witnesses to this fact.There were also suspicious fires and vandalism's happening on the Houston's numerous properties..And when did someone testify that Rocky said it would be on IF they came back?.Who testified to this?.And why do you use part of their testimony to make your points and then leave out the part about who shot first?

Again I ask you,Where was the swat team?They came before the shooting and again two weeks after to arrest a renter's brother for trashing his girlfriends apartment in Harriman.

Why was Brown allowed to carry a gun and ride in a patrol car when he was being treated for a mental illness?And why do you keep saying no one knows the story when two witnesses have already testified?One that they saw Mr. Brown shoot first and one saying the first shots came from the patrol car?

As far as the car goes..has the defense had the opportunity to examine the car yet?.At Leon's trial the Houston's were saying their investigators couldn't find it to examine it.

The warrant...I asked Rocky's sister this morning about it.She said that for a week after the shooting either she,the lawyers or the investigators were at the courthouse and jail every day trying to get a copy but it was nowhere to be found.They were finally given a copy of a warrant that had no docket number or no signatures on it.They said that they told the clerk it was unacceptable and were then told it was an electronic warrant.The defense team has yet to see a legal warrant.

Now...don't nobody kill and eat me .I'm just asking questions and carrying messages here!..LOL

OK, Ben - give...

"Again I ask you,Where was the swat team?"

The SWAT team doesn't appear magically or just decide to come out and play. The former Sheriff made a decision not to use a SWAT team from outside the county when they were offered. I think it might have been better had he done so. The local SWAT team WAS down there after the shooting, and spent many a weary hour working hard. Maybe your "being there" didn't extend that far.

As to the notion of bringing a SWAT team to serve a warrant... That would play very nicely into Rocky's paranoid delusions that everybody up to and including the POTUS was somehow out to get him.

"Why was Brown allowed to carry a gun and ride in a patrol car when he was being treated for a mental illness?"

Brown, as a former bona fide police officer, is allowed by federal law to continue to carry after his retirement. He may well have also had a commission that was current from his former boss. That allows him to carry a weapon.

Mental illness? WHICH mental illness. Who diagnosed it? And where did you get access to the medical records? What sort of treatment was he undergoing? Who was treating him?

RB

No sir,I have been there.I

No sir,I have been there.I saw this officer pass by the Houston's house enough in the two weeks before the shooting that the swat team could have built a permanent dwelling down here before the shooting.They had PLENTY of time.

I was basing my facts on the fact that Mr.Browns mother said on the stand that he had drew his first check for depression the week before the shooting.And the fact that at Leon's trial there was testimony from the dr. that did the autopsy that Brown had a drug in his system that could have very bad emotional side effects.

Am I wrong?

Well...

... when/if I'm an INNOCENT man, (and innocent men don't usually have ANYTHING to fear from the cops), I don't care HOW MANY times they cruise by my house. The more the better! Makes my neighborhood safer.

SWAT team serving a FTA warrant is ludicrous, and would only give credence to Rocky's paranoid delusions about how the world is out to "get" him. If the SWAT team had come down there to serve a FTA paper, then the neighborhood could have gotten up in arms about how them mean old cops are just pickin on poor ole innocent Rocky. They were damned if they did, damned if they didn't. It's a lose-lose situation for the cops as to how to serve that paper.

Saying a drug COULD have negative side effects and saying it DID are two DRASTICALLY different things. It could also mean that the drug was successfully TREATING the depression. Fact of the matter is that having depression under treatment is not something that makes it wrong to carry a sidearm in and of itself. It depends on a lot of factors. A forensic pathologist noting the presence of a drug in his system cannot determine whether the drug was being beneficial or exhibiting negative side effects.

What was the drug, by the way? What concentration was it in in Brown's bloodstream? Was it in a concentration that would have constituted an overdose?

RB

On my part, I would rather

On my part, I would rather be talking about those mean old cops as those poor deceased men!.THAT was a lose-lose situation!

I just don't understand why they would bring them once and not thereafter.But yet they come afterward to arrest a nineteen year old vandal.And I may never understand it,I know this.

I'm sorry and we will just have to agree to disagree on Mr.Brown.I will never believe it is ok for a civilian to carry a gun and ride along to a place the cops would be expecting trouble while having a mental illness that is so bad he is drawing a check for it!..No offence ,just my opinion...

Civilian?

1) If they ain't military, they're civilian. All involved were civilians.
2) A person who has a commission as an officer is not the same as one who does not, and can carry a weapon whether retired or not. The presence of depression is not in itself disqualifying from being a cop or from carrying a weapon. Not an opinion, just fact.

Did anybody in court ever prove that Brown's depression was at a level that made him a liability in this situation? I never heard about such evidence being introduced.

I take no offense at your opinion - don't worry about that. :-)

RB

Just so you guys know,I am a

Just so you guys know,I am a supporter of the Houston's having a fair trial.That's all.I am not a cop hater.I have two first cousins that i love dearly who were policemen for years and they are good boys.The Halcomb twins.Also Randy Scarboro has been a good friend several times thru the years.I am not a cop hater.I am a believer of there being bad in all professions and I have seen enough with my own eyes to make me believe the cops were up to something.Again,Why didn't they circle on by the Whittenmeirs where one of their Most Wanted was hiding?..Two or three miles on down the road and my questions would not have started!I would have said way to do your job LEO!

KnightLord's picture
Visibly upset

Why was Brown allowed to carry a gun and ride in a patrol car when he was being treated for a mental illness?And why do you keep saying no one knows the story when two witnesses have already testified?One that they saw Mr. Brown shoot first and one saying the first shots came from the patrol car?

A mental patient carrying a pistol on a ride along in a patrol car is crazy, if not illegal. The officer would not have the ability to control any passenger carrying a fire arm, so as far as I am aware, it isn't allowed, nor should it be.

I don't think I've said that no one knows, but I have indicated repeatedly that I don't know. I'm working this out as I get information, not the other way around. I must be doing a pretty fair job of it too, as now it seems I've now gotten heat from both sides. LOL

The warrant business doesn't make any sense at all. Either there is a warrant, or there isn't. If there is, it is produced, on the spot, period. It is a public notification, as far as I know, and not subject to privacy laws or such criteria. The Deputy had to have the warrant in his possession to present to Rocky prior to arrest. If there was no warrant, then they were trespassing and were obliged to leave immediately.

I ain't shooting anyone. I'm too busy being a target here. LOL

WhitesCreek's picture
RV,

Your obvious bias toward the actions of Bill Jones and against the Houstons is painfully evident. You seem to be willing to ascribe all the blame to Rocky and Leon and none to Bill and Mike. I just don't believe either side is blameless, and in that we disagree.

I think there is a reasonable scenario developing from the evidence that explains the sequence of events. And you may be surprised to note that I agree with you that the lack of a physical copy of the warrant is meaningless. That Bill Jones disobeyed orders is not. Neither is the question as to whether or not Mike Brown was supposed to be armed in this situation.

There is much to consider, but taking your anger out on me is not going to help you understand what happened on that tragic day. But if you need a target for your misdirected anger, I guess I'm here for you.

The state's case rests on whether there was a predetermined plan for an ambush and there's just no way that's the case in my view. I'll accept whatever the jury finds, however. Will you?

WC,

I have never said that I wasn't biased but I have also been willing to listen to the evidence and not just pick and choose what I want to hear.

You are correct in that I do not find Bill and Mike's actions as irresponsible. The bottom line is that Bill Jones was a deputy with a sworn duty to enforce the law. He was trying to do that on that tragic day. The notion that he disobeyed an order is not quite so clear cut. I know that Haggard himself testified that he had given such an "order". However, I have spoken to several officers who worked at the RCSO during the time of this incident who said that Haggard simply stated that he preferred that any attempt to arrest Rocky be made in public. It was not taken to be an order by any of the current or former deputies that I have spoken with. And you do recall what happened the previous time that Rocky was attempted to be served with an outstanding warrant in public don't you? He fled the Kingston Post Office which resulted in a dangerous high speed pursuit that put many innocent citizens in harms way. Now, Haggard also testified that his office had a set of policies in place in the form of a policy manual that was issued to every officer. That is an out and out lie. I have spoken to several officers who worked for Haggard and not a one has ever seen this policy manual. I have also spoken to Sheriff Stockton who advised that he was left with no policy manual by Haggard's administration and had to produce one from scratch immediately upon taking office.

So why is it that Rocky has every right to be armed in your view yet Brown does not?

I am not so much angry with you as I am frustrated by your apparent notion that everything the police did was wrong and everything that helps the Houston's defense is seemingly without the possibility of being false. You cannot find anyone (not from SOR) who could read your postings on this issue and think that you were in any way unbiased. You have used sensationalized accounts of portions of the trial reported in (untrustworthy according to you) newspapers as the basis for many of your stated opinions about this case. I can tell you from being in the courtroom that if you only listen to bits and pieces of anyone's testimony you can make it fit any pre-concieved notion of the "truth". That is where my perceived anger comes from more than anything on a personal level.

And (not surprisingly) I disagree that the state's case hinges on the proving of an ambush. The use of the word ambush was wrong from the beginning because it conjures up this idea that Rocky and Leon were lying in wait for Jones and Brown. We know that is not the case. However, the witness on the porch with Rocky and Leon did state that Rocky said "if they come back it's on". That statement alone is enough to show a premeditated plan of action that we know was carried out with tragic results. Proving the premeditated act that led to the deaths of Jones and Brown is all that is necessary. That there was a planned ambush is not in any way paramount to the state's case. The defense would have you believe that the state must prove this was an organized and pre-planned event but that is not what the law (or even the state) says.

I will accept whatever the jury finds but I fear that an aquittal will only serve to make Rocky feel as though he was right and that he will inevitably do the same thing again if law enforcement has to deal with him.

You're right - that is not what the State's case hinges on

"And (not surprisingly) I disagree that the state's case hinges on the proving of an ambush."

As the defense attorney rightly pointed out, there is statutory protection for the use of deadly force in self defense. As the prosecuting attorney rightfully pointed out, there are limitations to how far that right to self defense extends.

That we have homicides in these cases is undisputed and undeniable. What the case for murder (or lesser included offenses) hinges on is whether or not that right to self defense abated and the deadly force continued to be used beyond that point. That makes a lawful homicide an unlawful homicide. THAT is what the State's case hinges on. Ambush or no ambush doesn't mean crap in that decision.

RB

WhitesCreek's picture
Simple

So why is it that Rocky has every right to be armed in your view yet Brown does not?

Rocky was a private citizen standing in his own yard holding a legal weapon.

What are the regulations concerning a ride along? Even Deputy Jones was not supposed to have carry weapons he was not certified on by his department. Isn't that why his other weapons were in the trunk?

In a trial, the burden is on the state to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and every TN citizen has the legal right to oppose excessive force by officers. You say you're afraid that Rocky will "do the same thing again" if he is found not guilty, but in that case, you are saying you are afraid he will act in self defense if he's found to have acted in...self defense.

Wisdom and compassion is required here. There needs to be the recognition by our community that Rocky is in part a product of actions by certain (not all) officers over a long period of time. I don't excuse him for certain things, but I understand. What is more important in the long run is that we as a people learn the lessons and don't ignore and tolerate the unacceptable actions of anyone, private citizen or public servant wearing a badge.

Our officers face danger in the performance of their duties, and face it every day on our behalf. They deserve the strong guidance that could have prevented this tragedy. We have to face and accept that, not to vilify, but to guide. Thankfully, we have much better guidance in place now.

Well, hmmm...

"What are the regulations concerning a ride along? Even Deputy Jones was not supposed to have carry weapons he was not certified on by his department. Isn't that why his other weapons were in the trunk?"

Here's one regulation: Under the “Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act” (HR-218) qualified active and retired law enforcement officers are permitted to carry concealed handguns nationwide. The law amends the Gun Control Act (18 U.S.C. Chapter 44) to exempt qualified active and retired law enforcement officers from state and local laws prohibiting the carry of concealed firearms.

Another:
TCA 39-17-1315. Written directive and permit to carry handguns. —
(a) (1) Any law enforcement officer, police officer, bonded and sworn deputy sheriff, director, commissioner, county magistrate or retired law enforcement officer who is bonded and who, at the time of receiving the written directive, has successfully completed and, except for a law enforcement officer who has retired in good standing as certified by the chief law enforcement officer of the organization from which the officer retired, continues to successfully complete on an annual basis a firearm training program of at least eight (8) hours duration, director or full-time employee of the Tennessee emergency management agency in the performance of the director's or employee's duty, any duly authorized representative or full-time employee of the board of probation and parole who has been specifically designated by the board to execute warrants issued pursuant to § 40-28-121 or § 40-35-311 or to perform such other duties as specifically designated by the board, or any other officer or person authorized to carry handguns by this, or any other law of this state, may carry handguns at all times pursuant to a written directive by the executive supervisor of the organization to which the person is or was attached or employed, regardless of the person's regular duty hours or assignments; however, a copy of the written directive shall be retained as a portion of the records of the particular law enforcement agency that shall issue the directive. Nothing in this subdivision (a)(1) shall prevent federal officers from carrying firearms as prescribed by federal law.

What regulations are you referring to about what weapons Deputy Jones could or could not carry? Where is that found?

The Tennessee statutes for law enforcement officers OR for non-officers with handgun carry permits do not specify which weapons may or may not be carried. Indeed, from personal experience, I do know that when one completes a course for firearms carry as either an officer or for the handgun carry permit, the instructor records what weapon(s) you used. But that is NOT a restriction on other weapons. In other words, if you went to the range and shot your handgun qualifying with a Glock 22, that does mean you are prohibited from carrying either a S & W Model 19 OR a Colt M1911.

Other weapons were in the trunk because 1) it is common practice for LEOs to carry extra or different weapons in the trunk, and 2) you can't carry handguns and all the stuff that goes on your belt AND a shotgun or a M16 AND a whatever all in the front seat of a cruiser stuffed with radios, control systems, and all the paraphernalia a cop carries in the front all day every day. There is nothing at all unusual, much less sinister, about this.

The ride along was a retired police officer. That means he was entitled by several laws to carry. Even if he hadn't been a cop, if he had a carry permit (which would have been easy for him to get), he would be carrying legally.

RB

WhitesCreek's picture
I've been told that the

I've been told that the Sheriff Dept regs prevent ridealongs from packing heat. Anybody know whether that is true or not?

At the time in question...

there WERE no Sheriff's Dept regs. Sheriff Haggard had told someone he had a policy & procedure manual. Those things are required to be on file in the courthouse. When Jack Stockton took office, he could find none. He had to develop his own from scratch.

There are ride alongs and then there are ride alongs. Ride alongs who do not or never have had a commission as an officer are one thing. Those who are officers, or have been (e.g. retired) officers have a legal authority to carry, and shouldn't be hindered from doing so.

If I were an officer with a partner and he/she were qualified with a firearm, I would consider it extra protection for me if someone with me was packing heat. I would not want someone who was NOT qualified to be carrying in my car with me.

RB

bad bad bad

hey this is bad for everyone but the fackts r eveident.I have had dealings with bill jones and he has always been a straight shooter w me and every 1 i know.I had a court case in roane county and lost a lot of respect for him.I have a buisness in roane county most of the guys know me.Instead of calling me at my buisness him and his ride along buddy showed up to serve me during operation at my buisness it causes a lot of questions with clients.I think it was very unprofessinal and his ride along was very short with me when i was asking bill what this was about.professional courtsey hmmm

I know nothing about the

I know nothing about the case except what I have read. If Rocky was the marksman and avid hunter that he is said to have been, I am surprised that if he fired first, the others would have gotten a shot off. It is indeed a sad situation.....Ray Collett

EXACTLY!!!..I know these

EXACTLY!!!..I know these men.I know it doesn't seem like it at the moment but they are very smart.If they had planned an ambush,it would not have been at their homes.I'm guessing that they would have been on the side of the road somewhere with a high powered rifle and been gone on a four wheeler before the sound of the shot had ever died.They are not stupid men.(Feel free to differ..lol)

i have heard 1 of the best

i have heard one of the best at the plant.i agree but i think if the huston boys were going to ambush some one why would they do it at thier home.i think if theese boys could have carried a fight to the police that could have been a lot worse.

One of the BEST places to plan an ambush is at your home...

... so you can use self defense and protecting your own property as a defense.

RB

Rocky was certainly a good

Rocky was certainly a good marksman but real life is not TV. The human body is a very difficult thing to kill. There is really only one place that you can shoot a person and insure an instant death. No matter how good a shot someone might be hitting a moving target that is firing back at you is FAR more difficult than Hollywood has educated the general population to think that it is. In your statement you are also discounting Deputy Jones prowess with a firearm. Why, then if Jones had ired first, would you not also assume that Rocky would not have gotten off any shots?

We will never know with any certainty who fired the first shot out there that day. And too much has been made about who fired first anyway. It is irrelevant in the grand scheme of what happened. The actions of Rocky Houston as described by the witness are the most telling thing about the events leading up to whoever shot first. Clearly Rocky's actions at a minimum give rise to the possibility that he could have fired first. Approaching the police car in an agitated state with the coment "it's on now" at least give for that possibility. However, even if you want to argue that Rocky didn't fire first you still have his actions approaching the police car in an agitated state with an assault rifle that could very well lead any of us facing that situation with the thought that Rocky has bad intentions toward us and thus lead to one defending themselves against Rocky's perceived threat.

Whether you believe that Jones should have been at the house or not he did have a lawful right to be there (the warrant) and Rocky's actions were such that any of us could have been in fear for our life.

WhitesCreek's picture
Two things

Whether you believe that Jones should have been at the house or not he did have a lawful right to be there (the warrant) and Rocky's actions were such that any of us could have been in fear for our life.

Jones was in contradiction to his orders. (Has that warrant been introduced into evidence?)

Please remember that your statement is your opinion, not fact. The rest of what you say is mostly speculation. We need to avoid that if possible.

Link...

What part of my statement is

What part of my statement is not fact? That Jones had a lawful right to be there? That is a FACT. Your statement that he was under an "order" not to be is speculation since none of the other officers under Haggard ever recall any such order. They recall it being suggested but never ordered. Haggard also claimed to have a policy & procedure manual than no officer has ever seen and was not found when administrations changed just 4 months after the shootings.

The warrant I believe has been introduced. I know it was in Leon's trial.

So why is it that I cannot speculate about the events? Other than of course they don't match YOUR speculation of the events. The jurors are going to be asked to speculate about the events based on the evidence. I have heard the evidence (alot of it twice now).

WhitesCreek's picture
This is an opinion, not fact:

Clearly Rocky's actions at a minimum give rise to the possibility that he could have fired first.

It's not even actually true, given that we have testimony from every witness that the rifle was not aimed at the vehicle.

I seem to remember that we also have Haggard's statement that officers were not supposed to serve a warrant at Rocky's house but to wait until he was in a public place.

NOT TRUE!!! C'mon now. The

NOT TRUE!!! C'mon now. The rifle not being pointed at the car is not the issue (if that is even true). Rocky (according to the witness) showed up at the house very agitated asking if Leon had seen the police drive by. Rocky then tells Leon that if the police come back it is on. When the police do in fact come back he approaches the car in his agitated state holding an assault rifle uttering the phrase "IT'S ON NOW". How would you have interpreted those actions? If you want to believe that he wasn't pointing it directly at the car then fine but unless he had the gun slung on his back (which no one has claimed) it would be difficult if not impossible for him to be carrying the rifle while advancing on the patrol car and not pointing it in the general direction of the officers. That alone is sufficient to lead any reasonable person to fear for their life. The police pulling into your yard is NOT sufficient to lead any reasonable person to feel their life would be in danger.

You seem to want to take everything the witnesses from the porch say (all friends of Rocky and Leon by the way) that supports the defense but ignore anything they said about Rocky's actions that are problematic for the defense. I don't understand that. But as you've pointed out many times before I a simple-minded so maybe that's just me.

As for Haggard, it has been proven that he LIED about things on the stand. Not coincidently his story about the order and policy and procedure manual serve to protect his ass at the expense of his fallen deputy. No one from his department has ever seen this manual which makes it hard to believe that it was ever issued to every officer (or any) as he claimed and no one that I have talked to (and that is alot) has ever described the "arrest Rocky in public" as anything other than a preferred course of action. A preferred course of action that had already met with very bad results when done previously. And if you want to split hairs here technically Rocky wasn't at HIS house.

I clearly am biased in this case and have said so from the beginning. You, on the other hand have claimed to be unbiased yet everything EVERYTHING you have commented on about this case (Leon's trial included) has found fault with every issue of the prosecution case. I have not heard you even once entertain anything from the prosecution as positive. Even when you quote prosecution witnesses you frame in the context of being bad news for the prosecution despite the fact that you completely slant EXACTLY what is being said by taking it either out of context or emphasizing portions while discounting others. And you do the same thing the other way for the defense witnesses. If they say anything that is possibly positive to the prosecution you dismiss it completely and only use the portions of their testimony that are favorable to the Houstons. If you want to support the Houstons then fine. Please do so. But quit claiming to be unbiased when you have proven time and time again that you are not. I have been to the trials and not counted solely on second-hand accounts of the evidence and I can tell you that there are things that Jones and the RCSO could have and should have done better in dealing with the Houstons. But at the end of the day NONE of those mistakes gave Rocky and Leon the right to kill Jones and Brown. Why you feel it did escapes me.

WhitesCreek's picture
I think this is where we disagree...

But at the end of the day NONE of those mistakes gave Rocky and Leon the right to kill Jones and Brown. Why you feel it did escapes me.

I have never said there was a right to kill, only a right to self defense against excessive force. It's the law.

I also see the burden as being the state's to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. It is the function of a trial jury should be to question the state, not the defense. If there are reasonable holes in the prosecution's case, not just the possibility of the prosecution's scenario being true, then the jury should aquit on murder one.

So far I see a reasonable case for aquittal on the murder one charges, in that there is no possible way I can fit "ambush" into the evidence. I can fit a harrassment of a borderline stable person who has tendencies to paranoia into the evidence very easily. I fully understand how these people were in fear for their lives based on what I understand so far. I may decide differently as I learn more, but so far the idea that Rocky was supposed to stand there and let himself be shot is a tough concept to sell.

Yet again you refuse to give

Yet again you refuse to give any credence to Rocky's own actions being responsible for him being shot.

Get over the media's use of the word "ambush". I know that the previous DA used that in his opening statements and as I have said before I think that was a mistake because as you have illustrated people can't seem to grasp any definition of ambush other than some act that was planned weeks ahead of time.

Just answer me this: What does Rocky's statement (it's on now) as he advances on the police car with an assault rifle mean to you? What do you think his intentions were based on his actions? Why do you think after apparently having seen the police car drive by did he get an assault rifle and drive to his brothers house? Why did he tell his brother if they come back "it's on". Clearly to that point no one had fired any shots at anyone yet Rocky is seemingly already planning for a fight if the police return. Did he know that Jones and Brown were going to come back and start shooting or did it simply not matter to him either way. It sounds to me like his mind was made up prior to Jones pulling into that yard and that is enough premeditation for murder one. You can even accept that he was so paranoid as to believe that he was in fear for his life if you like. However, the law says the person has to have a reasonable belief that there is a threat to his/her life. Given his paranoid state he may have felt that his life was in danger yet that was not a reasonable (IMO) belief therefore his actions were not self-defense that day. Like I said the whole situation should have been handled differently but that is easy to say in hind-sight.

So what do you think Rocky meant by what he said prior to and just as the police pulled up?

Not quite...

"It is the function of a trial jury should be to question the state, not the defense."

NOT question the defense??? Chalk one up for critical thinking!!!

It is the function of the trial jury (petit jury) to question BOTH the prosecution AND the defense. Both sides present biased evidence, evidence that will be geared solely to allow their side win.

It is the jury's job to apply the law(s) as instructed by the judge to the facts they have been able to discern during the course of a trial. It is ludicrous to propose that the presentation of the defense should be beyond question. Guess what? There can be reasonable doubts in EITHER side's case. Such blind acceptance of what the defense puts on as gospel fact is preposterous in light of a claimed skill at and love for critical thinking.

The defense has one job - to convince the jury of the client's innocense, regardless of guilt or innocence.

A wise DAG once taught me, at the end of a case I thought we "lost", that, as folks who work for the state, we win any time justice is done. The defense only wins when the defendant gets off. Failure to question what the defense presents makes a mockery of the adversarial system of justice.

RB

Good catch RB. I can't

Good catch RB. I can't believe I missed that one. The state is charged with finding the truth and the way our system was intended so is the defense. However many "progressive" court decisions have basterdized the defense side of the criminal justice system to the point where "the truth" is nowhere near any concern of the defense.

There is a great book anyone who is not truly familiar with our criminal justice system should read. It is called "Guilty: The Collapse of Criminal Justice" by Judge Harold Rothwax. It would certainly shed some light on how our system really works for those people who don't have any real experience with it.

I wonder why WC hasn't bothered to answer my question about what Rocky meant by "it's on now"? To me Rocky's actions and that comment (all before any shots have been fired by anybody) is the most compelling evidence about what happened that day. Rocky, in his paranoid state, had already decided what was going to happen when the police came to his house. Hell, he all but told Brant exactly what he ended up doing 5 years earlier. It wouldn't have mattered what Bill Jones or Mike Brown did that day. Rocky had decided their fate simply because they pulled into the driveway.

WhitesCreek's picture
Ok

Let's hold off on the speculation and see what comes out at the trial. I wish someone was posting the facts and nothing but the verifiable facts someplace we could keep track. I would be glad to host such, kind of a Houston trial Wiki.

What do you want WC?..I can

What do you want WC?..I can ask...

Good Advice WC

As i read the post I see biases on both sides. C'mon people how can Roane County ever begin to heal as long as some keep going back and forth. I doubt their comments influence many people but it does give them an opportunity to vent and evidently meets a need of theirs.

Its the Christmas season with hope of "peace on earth and good will to
ALL men."

Merry Christmas to all. None of us are judges and jurymen. The people involved will be judged by a greater power than any of us

????????????????????????

i think if the shoe was on the other foot.thier would have been areport written and thats it.I think haggard said dont and they did anyway.i think the driving back and forth was jones building himself up for the fight.And it was rilling the hustons to the point of a fight.If jones was going to execute the warrant he should have called it in.im just reading the paper as the evedience comes out and theese r some thing that are sticking in my mind.

BrantWW's picture
In the Spring of 2001

Now that the prosecution has retired, I will say this and only this about the homicides for which the Houston men are on trial.

In the Spring of 2001 during a discussion about our judicial system and law enforcement, Rocky and Leon stood in my store and told me that one day they KNEW that they would be in a shootout with police officers in which police officers would die. They exclaimed that if any law enforcement ever came to their property to serve warrants there would be a gun battle in which the police would die.

Did I take their statements seriously?

Yes, after they left I immediately reported the conversation to the Harriman Police Department (I called Harriman because at the time the Harriman was the target of the Houston's ire. Also, at the time I only knew one police officer and he happened to work for the HPD).

Five years later the Houston's prediction came true.

In 2001 where the Houston's plotting to kill officers? I don't think so.

Where they expressing a mindset that eventually ended in a shootout? Obviously.

As I stated the day after the shootings, Rocky fashioned himself as a sort of freedom fighter, a patriot standing up against a broken system.

On that visit by the Houston’s I remember telling them that our system wasn’t so broken that it could only be addressed with guns. I told Rocky and Leon that they could still work within the system to affect change and that they didn’t have to think in terms of gun battles with law enforcement. They adamantly disagreed.

Of course, at the time Ruby Ridge, Waco, and the Oklahoma City bombing loomed large in many people’s mind. Indeed, Rocky and Leon weren't alone in their belief that our government had gone over the edge and was waging war on its own citizens.

Rocky and Leon came into my store only once or twice after that conversation. I have never seen either one since. We were not friends; they were just occasional customers who sometimes bought .45-pistol ammo.

----------------------------------------------------------

Who fired first?

From the physical evidence, I have formed the opinion that Rocky fired his weapon before Bill Jones fired his. I am not saying that Rocky was the first one to discharge his firearm that day. I am saying that when Bill Jones drew his firearm I believe shots had already been fired by someone and Bill was reacting in fear.

From what I knew personally of Bill Jones, he was a warrior, a firearms instructor who practiced as much as he taught (as did Rocky). Like many men (and women) who can handle themselves in tight spots, Bill had confidence in himself but he was not cocky. He wasn't one to look for trouble, but was cool headed when trouble came looking for him.

Under the circumstances of the shootout, I believe most law enforcement officers in Bill’s place would never have cleared leather before dying. If I had been in that patrol car Rocky would have gone unscathed. That Bill was able return fire amazes me.

That Bill shot himself in the leg and fired through the car door is enough to convince me that he must have been taking fire and possibly hits before drawing his weapon.

Law enforcement officers are taught and know that under extreme duress (that' what LEO call fear) one's first few rounds are likely to go into the ground as one’s handgun is brought up to bear on the threat. That is why they are taught to keep their index finger out of the trigger guard and their weak hand (the one without the gun) out of the way when drawing their weapon.

Unfortunately, in the rush to RETURN fire or stop a deadly threat, officers often let off rounds prematurely.

If one has ever shot a handgun competitively, you have most likely witnessed or even experienced this phenomenon. Eventually the self-induced stress caused by being "on the clock" during a friendly competition will result in a shooter discharging his or her handgun prematurely.

It’s called an unintentional discharge and is why there are so many range officers and safety rules at firearms competitions.

If the stress of a simple shooting match can cause unintentional discharges, imagine what being threatened by a firearm or actually taking fire can cause.

A right-handed person carries his holstered firearm on the right hip, which means that while sitting in a car before addressing a threat to the left, one must draw across his own body. Extreme fear could easily induce one to fire prematurely into one’s own left leg.

From what I knew of Officer Jones, he was too experienced with firearms to shoot himself unless he perceived a threat so great that instincts and adrenaline took over causing him to fire before he was ready, before his pistol was on target.

I believe that if fear of being shot didn't cause Bill to shoot himself, it was because he had already been shot.

To me there is no other rational explanation for Bill having shot himself and through the car door.

Did Brown shoot first? The witness said he did.

I don’t think Bill did.

--------------------------------------------------

Like Rocky, Bill knew not to take a pistol to a gunfight. Bill had too much military training and police experience not to understand the concept of superior firepower.

I feel that with his experience and knowledge of firearms, Bill would have never drawn on or fired his pistol at a man openly armed with a 7.62X39 AK style rifle except as a last resort - as the only means to defend himself. To draw and shoot a handgun from a sitting position at someone who is free to move about who is armed with an AK is akin to committing suicide.

As the evidence shows even after being hit twice and so seriously wounded that the medical witness said he would have died without treatment, Rocky was still mobile and able to circle the patrol car while firing his weapon.

Rocky was able to do this because pistol rounds are notoriously weak in comparison to rifle rounds.

Physics and the physical evidence tell us that pistols do not "stop" or "knock down" human targets (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction). Rounds fired from AK 47 rifles are another matter.

.357Sig pistol rounds make small holes and do not blow bodies apart - .30 caliber 7.62x39 rifle rounds do (as the photos and descriptions of the deceased's wounds showed).

Bill understood these facts.

Had Bill been looking for a gunfight I believe he would have gone armed with the powerful long guns in his trunk.

---------------------------------------------------

Regardless of who started it, my wish is that David Haggard and our court system had taken the escalating situation between the Houston's and law enforcement more seriously. In my heart I feel our system's collective failure lead to this shooting. Everything came after the system broke down.

No matter the outcome of the court case, we must try to make sure this never occurs again.

Rocky and Leon were NOT mad men or murderers.

Likewise neither was Bill Jones (I never knew or spoke to Mr. Brown.

--------------------------------------------------

The conversation I related above occurred.

Everything else is just my opinion or my interpretation. It is not meant to prove anyone’s quilt or innocence. The jury has that burden. I offer it in order to shed light on this terrible event.

---------------------------------------------------

WhitesCreek's picture
I don't find much to

I don't find much to disagree with in your analysis, Brant, except for the speculation as to the initiating action that caused Jones to shoot himself accidentally.

I don't believe Jones fired first either, but I think it is speculative to think that Bill drew his weapon because Rocky was already shooting at him. This is irrelevant anyway. The other rather obvious explanation is that his actions triggered on Mike Brown commencing fire. This is a common reaction which I've seen several times bird hunting with a group. We won't know unless Rocky testifies and we won't know for sure then, although I think the Houstons are rather straight forward and will state what they believe to be the truth. Even so, I don't think it matters who fired second. The situation was out of control at the moment Mike Brown fired first.

Consistent with all testimony so far, it looks to me like the situation was incredibly charged up and ready to blow. The list of people who are responsible for letting this get out of hand is long and inclusive, but the buck has to land in David Haggard's lap. Lot's of people messed up, but not with the finality that lax supervision allowed to happen. It was like a boulder at the edge of a cliff ready to start the landslide. Geologic forces put the boulder at that place and time, awaiting the final catalyst to teeter it over the edge and start the destruction.

It was over in seconds...Mindless and feral once it started.

Why are you so sold on the

Why are you so sold on the idea that Mike Brown fired first? Not that he very well could not have but you act as if he did that it had to be at Rocky as he sat on the porch sipping a glass of tea. Please tell me why you refuse to assign any blame to Rocky for his actions that day. His comments to Leon that if the police come back "it's on" indicate that he had already decided how this day was going to end. And sure enough when the police come back he, rifle in hand, advances on them saying "it's on now". I have yet to hear you give that portion of the witness testimony any credence. You always say that the witness said that Brown fired first so that HAS to be what happened. Even though the same witness gave a very different story to the FBI the day of the incident. After she admitted that neighbors and the Houstons asked her whose side she was on did her story change. Then you also seem to refuse to give the expert testimony the same weight as anyone who helps the Houstons. You say that it is speculative to think that Jones shot himself and his door because he was taking fire. Well sure it is speculative but it is speculative based on fact gathered from thousands of similar situations and not just some wild guess made on a whim. You have no problem speculating about anything that Rocky did that day as being purely self-defense despite the fact that when you look at his actions as a whole (the comments he made, head shots at close range on two men who were NOT threats at that time, delusions of conspiracies that stretch all the way to the POTUS) it doesn't add up. I just don't get how someone with the self-proclaimed gift of enlightened critical thinking continues to seemingly ignore every thing that sheds a light that supports the prosecution's case yet blindly accepts every possible scenario that supports Rocky and Leon's actions that day. And while we can agree that Haggard has alot of responsibility in what ultimately happened that day it doesn't excuse Rocky and Leon's actions.

I know that I am not going to change your mind and your refusal to weigh the evidence equally makes it impossible for you to come to any conclusion other than the one you already have.

WhitesCreek's picture
The operative words here are

The operative words here are "Reasonable Doubt". The burden is on the prosecution to prove it's case beyond that threshhold. The defense does NOT have to prove Rocky innocent, only that the prosecution case has holes in it.

It is speculative to assign meaning to the phrase "It's on!" uttered by Rocky. (Custer may well have said the same thing at Little Big Horn as all the Indians in the world rode over the hill.) Rocky could well have used the phrase to point out that here come the cops to kill him. It's what he seems to have believed, rightly or wrongly.

I am done but I do want to

I am done but I do want to make a couple of final points. Yes the state has to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt but you seem to be unreasonable in your unwillingness to weigh the evidence equally. The defense is supposed to be after the truth as well. Trying to poke holes in the state's case by throwing wild speculation is not an attempt to find the truth. There are any number of possible scenarios that could lead to the same conclusion to any event. But after you look at the total picture of all of the events leading up to that day and the wild conclusion you have to accept to believe that Jones and Brown were at Leon's to murder them then you are not being reasonable by any stretch of the imagination.

WhitesCreek's picture
I don't believe Bill and Mike were there to murder Rocky...

But I think Rocky did.

And the defense is there to cast reasonable doubt on the prosecution's case. Make no mistake about that. We have an adversarial system of justice, for good or bad.

I know EXACTLY what kind of

I know EXACTLY what kind of criminal justice system we have and have worked in it for years. I am fully aware of what the criminal justice system has become with only one side being held to any standard of finding the truth. The problem I have is that you have accepted any defense scenario of the events DESPITE the evidence to the contrary. That is not being responsible to the process. Granted you are not on the jury (thank goodness) but if other people do as you have done in this case or any other case then the state would never get a fair trial which they are entitled to as well.

WhitesCreek's picture
You speak of "the state" as

You speak of "the state" as if it were some one else besides you and me.

Anyway, what I don't accept is the notion that Rocky could do no right and the cops could do no wrong. Everybody involved was a human being and subject to the inherent failings and virtues. The real story here is not that one side was right and the other side wrong, but that neither side was right, and both have suffered mightily.

I don't want vengence... I want justice.

And I want a well trained, disciplined, functioning enforcement agency, that recognizes that the public is to be served and protected, with checks and balances and proper supervision.

true

amen they should be tried as humans not good and bad.Roane county is catching up to its self.weve almost got our very own prision downtown now.now a couple hundread achers for courthouse parking and we will be fine.

Sad, Sad Case

I agree with one thing posted here:

"...And I want a well trained, disciplined, functioning enforcement agency, that recognizes that the public is to be served and protected, with checks and balances and proper supervision"

I think this is what is really at the heart of this whole, sad situation. I have followed all that has been written, heard the rumors, and tried to investigate the past that led up to this horrible situation. I say there is right and wrong on both sides, but the fact that LE has ALWAYS been looked at a being right is wrong. (whew, did you understand that?).

I have one question that maybe someone knows the answer to. I understand that Mike Brown may have had the right to bear arms (though disagree that he had the right to have one on the "ride along" in that vehicle). I understand that he qualified on the technical side for having a gun. My question is:

What is written in the codes about the mental qualifications as to qualifying to carrying a concealed weapon? Do the codes address mental disabilities or depression or undergoing mental health treatment at all?

If Mike Brown received a check for a disability and was on leave for that disability, he was most certainly disabled at that time and I question his rights to carry a weapon until his disability was completely dealt with and he had a clear bill of health. Depression does affect your judgment.

It is sad to see so many people torn up in the sad case. My heart goes out to ALL family of ALL of the people in this case. I just pray that true justice will be determined (no matter which way it goes) and that all will be able to accept it.

I pray for strength for that jury to DO THE RIGHT THING whatever that may be. JMHO

judge

eaven if justice is not done it will be done at the gates of heaven.your question was very revealing and could be answerd with a million other questions.i dont think he should have been in the car at all.and you said it when thier was wrong done on both sides.thier shouldent have been though its the officers job to always do whats right.thier human as well but heres my question.the ring why was it in the floor of the car????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Justice?

Regardless of how the trial comes out. And regardless of the bantering back and forth on what happened. I can assure you there is a 7yr. old little girl in Roane County who is receiving benefits from this tragic event. For 5 years family members had to supply support for her.

Was justice done? I don't know! Its time to move on!

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