Alpine Man Dies In Head On Collision
Murder Suspect Shoots Self With "Unloaded"
Extensive News Coverage Cited In Murder Case
Man Dies In Head On Collision
Becky Meredith, OCN staff
An Alpine man was killed in a head-on collision on
State Highway 52 around 3:50 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21.
According to reports, Bob Keith Bowmer, 66, of Livingston,
was driving a 1991 Dodge van eastbound on Highway 52 East as Stephen
Paul Murphy, 34, of Alpine, was driving a 1989 Toyota Corolla westbound.
The van failed to negotiate a curve near milepost 21, crossed the
center line, and struck the Toyota in the front and driver's side.
Murphy was pronounced dead at the scene. Bowmer was
transported by private vehicle to Livingston Regional Hospital where
he was treated for minor injuries.
THP Sgt. Jim Beaty investigated the collision. Charges
are pending the result of tests.
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Suspect Shoots Self With "Unloaded” Gun
By Robert Forsman
A defendant charged with the shooting death of a Pickett
County man shot himself Monday, Aug. 20.
Edward J. Jones, 65, was found lying outside his vehicle
on Little Crab Road in Fentress County, suffering from a self-inflicted
gunshot wound, according to reports.
According to a statement reportedly made by Jones,
he had stopped to tighten a wheel. He was removing a .22 rifle from
the vehicle when the gun fired, wounding him.
Jones reportedly said he had been shot with an unloaded
gun. An investigator found eight live rounds in the rifle. The safety
was off, according to the investigator, and a spent shell was found
approximately 18 inches from where Jones was lying.
An ambulance transported Jones to the hospital in
Fentress County. He was then airlifted to a University of Tennessee
medical facility in Knoxville.
Jones is charged with first degree murder in the 1999
shooting death of Bill Winningham, 63, of Pickett County. A 20 gauge
shotgun was the reported murder weapon. Jones was free on bond when
the self-inflicted gunshot wound reportedly occurred.
He was scheduled to appear in criminal court, Judge
Lillie Ann Sells presiding, on Tuesday, Aug. 21, one day after the
shooting, for a hearing on a motion to revoke his bond filed by
Assistant District Attorney Owen Burnett, and for a motion filed
by Public Defender Art Johnson to suppress a statement made by Jones
following an unrelated incident.
Describing the statement as "self serving",
Assistant DA Burnett didn't oppose the motion to suppress it when
it was brought before the court last Tuesday.
"The state concedes that this motion is right?”
Judge Sells asked.
"Yes, Your Honor," Burnett replied.
The motion to revoke Jones' bond was continued contingent
upon his condition.
"If he lives, we'll hear it later," Burnett
Judge Sells asked if the self-inflicted gunshot wound
"I can't say positively that it was non-accidental,"
A hearing to revoke Jones' bond without him being
present is possible if certain conditions exist.
Judge Sells said, "Obviously if he's a threat
to himself and others, the court can hear it without him being here.
If it's determined that the shooting wasn't accidental, he doesn't
need to be here."
Jones' trial for first degree murder was scheduled
to begin in Pickett County Wednesday, Sept. 5.
Judge Sells said, "It may still go to trial on
the fifth if he's out of the hospital."
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News Coverage Cited In Murder
By Robert Forsman
Citing "pretty extensive" news coverage
of the Timothy Reagan murder case in Overton County, Public Defender
Art Johnson filed a motion to move the upcoming trial to another
Judge Lillie Ann Sells heard the motion during the
Tuesday, Aug. 21 session of Overton County Criminal Court.
Johnson said the case had also been reported in the
Herald Citizen and The Tennessean.
Reagan is accused of killing his wife with an explosive
device in January 2000. Reagan has been in custody since being released
from a hospital after receiving treatment for injuries sustained
in the explosion that took the life of his wife.
Johnson called a headline of a story in the Herald-Citizen
about the alleged murder "inflammatory."
According to Johnson, the headline read, "Dying
Woman Makes Statement." Johnson said, "I think that kind
of thing creates prejudice in the community."
Assistant District Attorney Owen Burnett called accounts
of the alleged murder in Overton County News "fair reporting."
Burnett said, "We should wait and see what the jurors have
Judge Sells said, "This could be undue excitement.
This court is not going to rule on this motion at this time. If
we run into a problem, the court will decide then. We could go to
another county, pick a jury, and return here."
Johnson replied, "That would certainly be satisfactory."
Overton County Circuit Court Clerk Johnny Brown and
his staff will issue approximately 100 summonses for potential jury
members. Brown said at least that many citizens must be summoned
to form a jury pool of 75.
Johnson asked for a list of possible jurors to be
provided before the trial. A ruling granting his request was entered.
Judge Sells said, "There will be no contact whatsoever
with potential jurors, whatsoever. I can assure you that you don't
want to do that."
Reagan's trial is scheduled to begin Wednesday, Sept.
Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570