A public defender for a 32-year-old man accused of killing two people on Labor Day suggested Thursday that one of the victims died because she witnessed her father's slaying in March.
Chattanooga police say an enraged Stephen Mobley opened fire after Jasmine Hines, 22, and another woman vomited inside a home on Pinewood Drive during a night of partying on Sept. 5. Though one woman survived the attack, Hines and Rashaud Taylor, 23, died from multiple gunshot wounds.
But Assistant Public Defender Steve Brown pointed to a Facebook live video from that night, and put the primary homeowner through an intense cross examination in Hamilton County General Sessions Court.
"Now," Brown said, "this was a live post with Jasmine in it?"
The homeowner said yes.
Earlier that hearing, the homeowner said, Mobley woke him up after he fell asleep that night. When Mobley told him to leave because the women were throwing up, the homeowner said he walked right out the front door.
The homeowner said he later returned to the scene, where officers swarmed around 6:30 a.m., after hearing gunshots in the night. Officer Chris Blackwell said on-scene investigators found about 10 shell casings for 9 mm bullets inside the home. They also found Hines in a fetal position in between two couches.
Brown questioned the homeowner about her father, Michael Hines, 41, who was shot to death while at his mother's place in Brainerd in March. When the homeowner said he didn't know what happened, Brown asked how that was possible since Hines was a "very good friend" from school.
"Her father got killed," the homeowner admitted.
"In fact, he was assassinated," Brown said. "Shot in the back of the head, right?"
"I had no idea," the homeowner said.
"And she was a witness," Brown said. "She tell you that? She was a witness to her father's murder."
"Yes, sir," the homeowner said.
"And whoever it was has never been arrested," Brown said.
"Yes, sir," the homeowner said.
"And she's there on Facebook live, posting at your home for everybody to see," Brown said.
Afterward, police spokeswoman Eliza Myzal said the Chattanooga Police Department didn't buy that story.
And none of that testimony stopped Judge Christie Sell from sending Mobley's charges to a grand jury. If the grand jury returns an indictment, Mobley will be arraigned in Criminal Court. He faces two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of attempted first-degree murder, and one count of possession of a firearm.
Prosecutors decided to dismiss one of the aggravated assault charges, Sell said.
During the hearing they called the survivor, who said she didn't know who shot her and that she didn't remember being shot, said Melydia Clewell, spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.
The woman and homeowner will not be identified here out of fear for retaliation. They told prosecutors they have received death threats through their family members, Clewell said, adding that one of the witnesses didn't even know Mobley before Labor Day weekend.
In 2007, records show, Mobley pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the 2005 shooting death of a 20-year-old man in College Hill Courts. Then, in 2012, he was charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Gregory Watkins. Those charges were dismissed in 2015, though, after a jury could not agree on a verdict.
After he was arrested in this case, an anonymous person called Criminal Court clerks and said anyone involved in Mobley's prosecution was at risk, including the judge, the jury, the prosecutors and the witnesses, Clewell said.
When investigators from the sheriff's office tried to find the caller, they were only able to trace the number back to a public payphone.
Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6347. Follow on Twitter @zackpeterson918.