A contentious four-hour preliminary hearing in Hamilton County Sessions Court ended Tuesday with a 24-year-old Chattanooga woman facing indictment in the stabbing death of a 15-year-old girl.
Defendant Temekia Reed spoke quietly to her attorneys, Bill Speek and Chrissy Mincy, throughout the hearing in Judge Bob Moon's courtroom. Reed has been charged with criminal homicide in the death of Shaviya Vinson at College Hill Courts public housing complex on Dec. 19.
Two of the four witnesses called by Assistant District Attorney Lila Statom were characterized as "hostile" during the proceedings.
Moon sent the case to the grand jury for a possible indictment, revoked a previously suspended one-year drug sentence Reed was serving and held her $1 million bond at the same amount.
Court records show that Reed, her sisters Derrecka Witcher, Demisha Reed and Marquita Reed and their mother, Natalia Reed, were involved in a brawl that grew out of a dispute over $20 allegedly owed to Natalia Reed for baby-sitting.
During the escalating fight, police said Vinson was stabbed in the chest with a pair of purple-handled scissors.
Natalia Reed testified Tuesday that she had lied to police about what she saw during the street fight. She said she felt threatened by a police detective and told him what she thought he wanted to hear.
"He kept questioning me and I kept telling him I didn't see anything," Natalia Reed said.
She said she told the detective she saw her daughter Temekia Reed stab Vinson "because he threatened to have my other two daughters locked up for murder."
Witcher further frustrated attempts at questioning when, Statom said in court, she gave a different account of events on the witness stand than she previously told the prosecutor.
Statom asked Witcher if Temekia Reed had told her anything about the alleged stabbing. Witcher testified she had not.
The prosecutor then asked if Witcher had not recently said in the hallway that Temekia Reed told Witcher after that stabbing that she "saw the opportunity and took it."
Witcher testified that she didn't say that to Statom before the hearing.
After the hearing, Speek said confusion in the testimony came from the prosecution's witnesses. Speek did not call any witnesses in the hearing, but said he has spoken with potential witnesses who will refute accusations against his client.
"Our defense witnesses are pretty lock-solid that Temekia had little or nothing to do with this," Speek said. "She was involved in a fight but she did not commit a murder."
Statom and Speek sparred throughout the hearing. At one point, Moon commented on the friction between Speek and Statom.
"We've got enough hostilities here between the parties, we don't need it between the attorneys," Moon said.
The grand jury often takes about six weeks to return a decision on an indictment.
Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...