CLEVELAND, Tenn. - The decision whether to try or dismiss new murder charges against Twanna Blair in the 1999 Valentine's Day triple slaying is now in a judge's hands.
Blair was arraigned this morning in Bradley County Criminal Court on three counts each of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and facilitation of felony murder and one count of facilitation of especially aggravated robbery in the 15-year-old case.
Prosecutor Richard Fisher argued that the charges against Twanna Blair had been raised in previous indictments and never dismissed.
But her attorney argued before Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood that the charges amount to double jeopardy, since Blair was found not guilty of robbery and murder after a 2009 trial. Double jeopardy is the doctrine that a person can't be tried twice for the same crime.
Defense attorney Lee Davis said all the counts were disposed of either when the earlier indictments were consolidated before Blair's trial.
Blackwood heard arguments and said he would make a decision later.
The crime was the execution-style killings of Orienthal "O.J." Blair, Cayci Higgins and Dawn Rogers at Twanna Blair's apartment, which prosecutors called retaliation for an earlier fight.
Twanna Blair, who also was shot, initially was considered a victim but prosecutors decided she was an accomplice and charged her along with Maurice Johnson and Michael "Money" Younger.
Johnson was convicted of murder and is serving a life sentence.
Younger's first trial ended in a mistrial. He was reindicted in March along with Blair and has been appointed an attorney.
See complete details in Friday's Times Free Press.