published Friday, November 16th, 2012

Trial date set in East Ridge murder case

A man charged with robbing and suffocating a 70-year-old East Ridge woman has been scheduled for trial next year.

Randall Kenneth Reed, 44, faces a March 5, 2013, trial on murder and especially aggravated robbery charges in the death of Jane Stokes.

Prosecutors say Reed suffocated Stokes with a plastic bag and tied her hands behind her back after robbing her home at 707 Hardin Drive.

A neighbor found Stokes' body on the bedroom floor.

Reed was arrested in June 2011 after police say he used the woman's credit cards throughout Chattanooga after her death.

East Ridge police spokesman Erik Hopkins told the Times Free Press then that "a lot of physical evidence" connected Reed to the slaying.

But Reed's attorney, Chrissy Mincy, said her client is not the killer.

"We are convinced that the person responsible has not been found, and we look forward to clearing Mr. Reed's name," Mincy said.

Stokes had lived in the home for decades before her husband's death. She worked at an accounting firm for 20 years, according to more than 40 friends and neighbors who attended the East Ridge Municipal Court hearing for Reed last year.

about Todd South...

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 ...

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