published Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Jury chosen in double homicide trial of Bradley County grandparents

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    Aaron Dean Lawson, 32, is a suspect in the shooting deaths of Charles and Deborah Phillips in northern Bradley County. He has been indicted on two first-degree murder charges in Bradley County.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — A jury has been selected and opening arguments are expected this afternoon in Bradley County Circuit Court in the first-degree double-murder trial of Aaron Dean Lawson, who is accused in the April 2011 slayings of his daughter's grandparents.

Lawson, 32 at the time of his arrest, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon in the deaths of Charles “Eddie” Phillips and Deborah Phillips. He is represented by local defense attorney Randy Rogers, and the case is being prosecuted by 10th Judicial District Assistant District Attorney Stephen Hatchett.

Circuit Court Judge Carroll Ross is presiding over the trial.

Police say Lawson ambushed his then-11-year-old daughter's grandparents, Eddie Phillips, 58, and Debbie Phillips, 54, at their home on Leatha Lane near Charleston, Tenn., on April 19, shooting each of them at least three times.

Lawson was arrested in Hamilton County after an all-night manhunt.

Authorities said the killing was over where the victims' granddaughter would spend Easter weekend. Lawson and the child's mother, who are not married, had battled over custody of the girl.

Judge Ross called off a long list of potential witnesses so the dozens of Bradley County residents in the jury pools would be able to say whether they were related or acquainted with any of them.

Ross told panelists the trial could continue through Thursday or beyond.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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