published Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Tennessee high court upholds conviction in '98 case

Jereme Little is seen in this file photo.
Jereme Little is seen in this file photo.
Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Tennessee Supreme Court has upheld a conviction and 18-year prison sentence for a 37-year-old Chattanooga man in a kidnapping case dating to 1998.

Chattanooga police arrested Jereme Dannuel Little on charges of especially aggravated kidnapping in 2005, nearly six years after an incident in which the victim said he was kidnapped and tortured by Little.

Demetrius Grayson confessed to police that he robbed Chris Rogers but fled when he thought Little was about to kill Rogers. When Little later found Grayson, he pistol-whipped him and took him to a crack house on Davenport Street, Grayson said.

Little tied Grayson to a chair, tortured him and forced him to smoke crack and eat dog feces, Grayson testified.

A jury found Little guilty of the charge and he later was sentenced to 18 years. He argued on appeal that the jury should have been told he had been acquitted of related robbery charges in the kidnapping.

Little's attorney, Jeffrey Schaarschmidt, had argued that because the "underlying offense," or the robbery charge that allegedly led to the kidnapping, weighed heavily and the jury should have been told more.

But both the Court of Criminal Appeals and, on Friday, the state Supreme Court, ruled that prosecutors were not required to explain further that Little had been acquitted of the robbery charges.

Previously Little had been acquitted in a separate murder trial in which Crystal Johnson, the mother of his unborn child, said he beat, punched and stomped her, causing the death of the male fetus.

Little was tried twice on a 2001 murder charge in the death of Tony McAfee and juries in both trials could not reach a verdict. His accomplice, Muhammed Nuriddin, pleaded guilty to his role in the slaying and testified against Little.

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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