Prosecutors allege witness intimidation, introduce forensic evidence at 2016 double homicide trial

Prosecutors allege witness intimidation, introduce forensic evidence at 2016 double homicide trial

July 12th, 2018 by Zack Peterson in Breaking News

Stephen Mobley, 34, walks in to Judge Barry Steelman's courtroom during jury selection on Tuesday.

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

Updated at 8:08 p.m. on Thursday, July 12, 2018.

Chattanooga prosecutors expanded on their presentation of evidence Thursday against a 34-year-old man on trial for double homicide, calling a witness who described Stephen Mobley's attempt to silence one person from speaking to the police during their investigation.

Dan Reed said his son, David Reed, who lived at the home where the double homicide happened, received a phone call from Mobley shortly after he spoke with police about the Sept. 5, 2016, shooting at a Pinewood Drive house party where Jasmine Hines, 22, and Rashaud Taylor, 23, were killed. A third woman who has already testified for the state, Zirrshaddia Scott, 24, was also shot multiple times but survived.

Hours after the shooting, Dan Reed said Mobley told his son not to speak to Chattanooga police and wanted to know what authorities had learned so far. Dan Reed said he grabbed the phone from his son and asked, "Why the f — — did you kill my people?"

Mobley, who has pleaded not guilty, denied it, Dan Reed said.

Two days later, after authorities spotted him at a Chattanooga motel and placed him on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's most wanted list, Mobley turned himself in to police. He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count each of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault and employing a firearm during a dangerous felony. He faces life in prison if convicted.

So far, prosecutors have relied on forensic evidence and eyewitness testimony from the Sept. 5, 2016, party, calling Scott, David Reed and other partygoers and Pinewood Drive neighbors to the stand. Prosecutors say some of those witnesses have either said different things to jurors than they initially did to police or have said they don't have a clear recollection of events.

But according to court testimony, about 15 people went to David Reed's house for a cook-out-turned-Labor-Day-weekend-party that involved marijuana, alcohol and Xanax. As the party moved from the house to the Chattanooga Billiard Club back to the house, prosecutors said Mobley felt disrespected by a lack of attention from Hines and Scott, displaying a 9 mm gun at various points throughout the night.

Things reached a head, prosecutors said, when Scott threw up in the sink and Mobley demanded that everybody leave. David Reed testified Wednesday that an argument broke out between Mobley and Hines as a result. David Reed, who is related to Mobley, said he walked out the front door and heard gunshots on the way to a nearby friend's house, where he passed out.

Authorities never recovered a weapon, but they did locate about 10 cartridges from the scene and sent some to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Agent Shelly Carmen testified Thursday that she tested five bullets: Four were fired from the same weapon, and one cartridge appeared tarnished and could have been fired at a different time.

Prosecutors also focused Thursday on what happened after the shooting. They called Wanda Norris, who is Mobley's aunt, and recounted how she drove him to a motel on Lee Highway around 6:30 a.m. Though they cannot put on proof until prosecutors finish presenting their case, Mobley's public defenders countered that Norris said Mobley didn't have blood on his clothes and didn't have a gun on him.

Norris said she didn't know when Mobley came to her house, but that it wasn't uncommon for her to occasionally get him a hotel room. A different TBI agent testified Thursday that Mobley's clothing came back negative for gunshot residue.

In a video he posted on Facebook after the shooting, Mobley said he was innocent.

Since 2016, his public defenders have suggested Hines was killed because she had information about her father's homicide, which happened in March 2016, about six months before her own. Hines spoke to police about it and feared retaliation as a result, Mobley's defenders said. The night she died, Hines, a musician, appeared in a Facebook live video broadcasting her location to anyone who potentially wanted to harm her.

Defenders are expected to play Hines' interview with police — once the state is finished with their case. Jurors will continue hearing state testimony tomorrow at 9 a.m., likely from one of the lead police detectives who took down some of the eyewitness' initial statements.

Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at zpeterson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @zackpeterson918.


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