Man charged in Marion County slaying had 2011 homicide conviction

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In this May 30, 2015 photo, Nancy "Grongong" Rutchik, left, and Flossie "Grammy" Pack, walk down the aisle as flower girls for the wedding of their granddaughter Lucy Schanzer in Carmel, Calif. Lucy married Kyle Schanzer. (Tom O'Neal/TGO Weddings/Lucy Schanzer via AP)

A man charged in a Sunday shooting in Marion County, Tennessee, was on probation for a previous homicide conviction in the shooting of another man more than a decade ago.

Jarrod DeJuan Pickett, 39, is facing allegations in the slaying of Corey "C.J." James Havner, 29, who was fatally shot in the front yard of a home in the area of Old Shellmound Road near Nickajack Lake, southwest of the Guild community, Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett said Tuesday in a phone interview.

"They were arguing over a car and, evidently, Pickett pulled a pistol and shot Havner," Burnett said. "It's my understanding that's the vehicle Pickett left in."

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Havner was taken by private vehicle to a local emergency room, where he died, Burnett said. As the probe continued, investigators determined Pickett was a suspect, the sheriff said.

Pickett was taken into custody Monday by police in Scottsboro, Alabama, after a traffic stop led to his arrest there on charges of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, three counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to a Scottsboro Police Department news release posted Monday on social media.

Scottsboro police allegedly found an estimated 14 grams of suspected methamphetamine, along with the substance spice and other prescription pills, according to the release.

Scottsboro police said they also had a fugitive from justice warrant for Pickett's arrest issued in Tennessee stemming from Havner's killing.

Pickett is fighting extradition to Tennessee, Burnett said.

"If he makes bond there, I think we may have to file a governor's warrant," Burnett said. "A detective went down and interviewed him yesterday, and he said he was not willing to come back."

According to 12th Judicial District Attorney Mike Taylor, formal extradition, if the defendant fights it, is a two-step process.

The district attorney's office in Tennessee will apply to Gov. Bill Lee's office for a request to the governor of Alabama, followed by a request from Lee's office for the Alabama governor's office to issue a warrant. Pickett has a right to contest the warrant in Alabama, according to Taylor.

The 12th Judicial District of Tennessee includes Bledsoe, Franklin, Grundy, Marion, Rhea and Sequatchie counties.

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Pickett has a bond of $55,500, and he remains in custody at the Jackson County Jail in Scottsboro, jail records show. Jail officials said Pickett had no attorney on record as of Tuesday, and a court date for his initial appearance on his charges in Alabama has not been set.

Tennessee Department of Correction records show Pickett had been released from prison after a reckless homicide conviction in the 2011 slaying of 50-year-old Kenneth Hudson. Burnett and Taylor were uncertain when Pickett had been released, but both said it has been a period of years.

Pickett was accused of shooting Hudson in the head as the two men and a 17-year-old girl rode along Shellmound Road in Hudson's pickup truck on Feb. 7, 2011, according to court testimony. Hudson's body was left along the roadside as Pickett fled, according to testimony. Pickett's case was sent to the grand jury following the preliminary hearing.

In 2013, Pickett pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of reckless homicide that had been downgraded in the plea agreement from an indicted charge of first-degree murder. At the same time, Pickett also pleaded guilty to an unconnected methamphetamine-related charge, records show. Circuit Court Judge Thomas Graham sentenced Pickett to a combined 12 years in prison on the two, unrelated counts.

Burnett said Havner's family is upset Pickett was released from prison in a homicide conviction.

"I understand the family's concerned, and I agree he shouldn't be out on the street," Burnett said. "But that's how it's handled in the court system."

Taylor said Tuesday in a phone interview the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is assisting in the Marion County case. He said he didn't want to express an opinion on Pickett's release from prison without all the facts of the old case in hand.

There will be no timeline on the Tennessee portion of the case until Pickett's extradition status is determined in court, Taylor said.

Contact Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.