Is convicted Grundy County murderer Adam Clyde Braseel actually innocent?

Circuit judge delays decision in post-conviction hearing for 2007 slaying

Adam Clyde Braseel
photo Adam Clyde Braseel

A judge did not make a ruling Tuesday after a post-conviction hearing in Grundy County Circuit Court to determine whether a 2007 decision to imprison Adam Clyde Braseel on murder and robbery charges put an innocent man behind bars for life.

Scheduled to last two days, the hearing ended around 11 a.m. after Braseel's attorney called about four witnesses - some of them new to testify, said Steve Strain, an assistant district attorney for the 12th Judicial District. The purpose of the hearing was to decide whether the attorneys were ineffective at providing Braseel a fair trial in 2007.

Judge Justin Angel decided Tuesday he wanted to review testimony before making an advisement, Strain said. Angel has 60 days to make a decision, Strain said, but Braseel's defense waived that requirement, giving the judge as much time as he deems necessary.

"Obviously we don't want this to linger on forever," Strain said, "but if the judge needs a little more time, I don't think anyone is objecting to that."

Braseel's attorney, Douglas Trant, could not be reached for comment. Clerks at Grundy County Circuit Court confirmed Tuesday around 4 p.m. that Angel had finished listening to the post-conviction hearing.

Braseel, an Estill Springs man, was convicted November 2007 of first-degree premeditated murder, first-degree felony murder, especially aggravated robbery, attempt to commit first-degree murder, aggravated assault and assault.

Grundy County deputies responded to Melissa Rock Road on Jan. 7, 2006, and found Malcolm Burrows next to a car about 200 yards from his residence, archives show. His sister, Becky Hill, had been beaten and sustained severe head wounds. Braseel, then 22, turned himself in to the Grundy County Sheriff's Department and was charged in connection with the assault and slaying.

After a jury found Braseel guilty in 2007, he took his case to the Tennessee Supreme Court, which denied his appeal in February 2011, Strain said. Braseel and his defense then filed for the post-conviction hearing sometime in early 2012, Strain said.

"But basically, the case sat for about two years," he said. "And then, we started dealing with it again."

Contact Zack Peterson at Follow him on Twitter @zackpeterson918.