published Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Chattanooga lawyer seeks evidence in Meco Siler murder case

Brandon Eugene Russell speaks to Judge Rebecca Stern late Tuesday morning on charges pertaining to an early 2011 homicide case.
Brandon Eugene Russell speaks to Judge Rebecca Stern late Tuesday morning on charges pertaining to an early 2011 homicide case.
Photo by Dan Henry.

A local attorney suspects that a knife found on one of the prosecution's key witnesses in an unrelated case may connect to his client's murder charge.

Bill Speek filed a motion Tuesday with Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern, asking that the court "preserve evidence" in the other case.

"The facts of this case are still coming in," Speek said after the hearing. "The more facts we're receiving regarding the incident that happened, the more we have reason to believe that another individual was involved in this."

Stern granted Speek's motion, giving the court control over the knife possibly to be used as evidence in the case against Speek's client, Brandon Eugene Russell.

Russell, 30, faces charges of first-degree murder and especially aggravated robbery in the stabbing death of 29-year-old Meco Siler on Jan. 6, 2011.

Joseph Fields, 43, is a key witness who led police to Russell and told them he and Russell smoked crack cocaine for an hour in Fields' room on the third floor of the Country Hearth Suites.

When they ran out of the drug, Fields testified in a March 15, 2011, preliminary hearing, the pair called Siler to get more "on credit."

Fields testified he stood in Siler's doorway on the second floor of the extended-stay hotel and saw Russell hit Siler and throw her on the floor.

A medical examiner's report showed 36 stab wounds to Siler's neck and cuts to her hands.

Speek's evidence request states that a knife was found on Fields when he was arrested on burglary charges on Aug. 22, 2011.

"The defense has reason to believe that a knife or weapon of like kind that is being held as evidence ... is relevant in the [Russell] case," according to the motion.

Assistant District Attorney Brian Finlay is the prosecutor handling the case against Russell. District attorney office policy is not to comment on pending cases.

Stern set March 20 as the next court date to choose a trial date.

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