published Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Slaying retrial work under way and other news from areas around Chattanooga

Slaying retrial work under way

MARYVILLE, Tenn. — Preparations for the retrial of a murder charge in a decade-old case have begun in Blount County.

The Daily Times reported attorneys argued motions Tuesday in Circuit Court as the state prepared to again try Douglas Franklin Jordan Jr.

Jordan, 42, was serving a 23-year prison term when the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals overturned his second-degree murder conviction in 2011. The appellate court found the state withheld two pieces of evidence that could have been favorable to Jordan's defense.

"This trial was more than 10 years ago, and we've had to try to put it back together," said County Assistant District Attorney Shari Tayloe.

Judge David R. Duggan recommended that Tayloe and defense attorney Gena Lewis hold a discovery conference to determine any further evidence and if there are any witnesses.

"This is getting to the point of ridiculous," Duggan said. "At this point there is no reason to believe that any other evidence has been turned over."

Jordan was convicted in the 1998 killing of Jennifer Byerley of Louisville, who was 22. Byerley's body was found along a road where investigators said it was dumped. Her throat had been slashed.

No date has been set for trial to begin.


Arnold changes gate security

TULLAHOMA, Tenn. — Visitors to the Arnold Air Force Base near Tullahoma will find new procedures at the security gates.

The Arnold Engineering Development Center said in a news release this week that base police are scanning military ID cards at the gates. Dan Hawkins, a base police supervisor, said the system will improve security and can more easily detect counterfeit IDs.

The base also said it has discontinued use of a badge by military dependents and retirees to access areas such as the commissary, base exchange, veterans clinic, bank or other support offices. Police will allow those patrons to access those areas without having to present the badge.

Guests and visitors will need to report to the visitor control center at the main gate for a temporary pass.


10 disciplined over pot brownies

DACULA, Ga. — Authorities said 10 students at a high school northeast of Atlanta have been disciplined after school officials said one of them brought marijuana brownies to school and shared them.

Gwinnett County schools spokesman Jorge Quintana said an 11th-grade student brought the brownies to Dacula High School on Feb. 20. He tells the Gwinnett Daily Post that the student showed them to a classmate, and both distributed them to other students.

Quintana said a total of 10 students were disciplined because he said the students received the brownies knowing marijuana was in them.

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