Trial delay for man charged with killing his wife angers the judge
By J.J. Kindred | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A state toxicology report requested by the attorney of a Maryville man charged in the murder of his wife has caused the postponement of his trial.
The trial of Jeffrey Scott Long, 50, charged with killing his estranged wife on Sept. 10, 2009, was scheduled to begin with jury selection in Blount County Circuit Court Tuesday morning.
But Long’s Knoxville attorney, George Maifair, informed Judge David Duggan that he had received the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation toxicology report not long before jury selection was to begin.
Duggan was furious at Maifair for not informing the court in advance that he was obtaining the report. Blount County Assistant District Attorney Betsy Smith said she was not aware of the report until Tuesday morning.
Duggan reluctantly granted the request of continuance so the report can be reviewed, but he let Maifair know his feelings on the matter.
“No one followed up on this,” Duggan said angrily. “Do you understand the lengths I am going through to accommodate everyone’s schedule in order to get this thing tried? You understand if we can’t do this (soon), we are looking at this time next year.
“No one paid attention to this report that both of you had,” Duggan continued. He agreed to grant the continuance, allowing Maifair to talk with his toxicology expert and meet back in court Wednesday morning to determine a date to reschedule the trial.
Neither Duggan, Maifair nor Smith would comment on the process of obtaining the report.
Motions were heard during an all-day hearing last month for Long, charged with the murder of 57-year-old Janas Long in the Lakemont Village Apartment complex on Cerritos Way in Alcoa. He was formally charged the next day.
Long testified last month that he was at his apartment at Shamrock Apartments when a SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team came to his door. He did not invite the them into the apartment and did not open the door at any point.
Long said he had a note, which was believed to be a suicide note, and a picture in his hand. He was vague in his testimony as to whether he intended to commit suicide, claiming he didn’t remember what he wrote since it had been 2½ years.
Judge Duggan denied motions for the exclusion of crime scene and autopsy photographs and to suppress evidence, as well a video taken by Alcoa police detective and lead investigator Kris Sanders the night of the murder.
Duggan allowed specific photographs and parts of the video to be used because they show the significance of Janas Long’s injuries, despite some of them being of a graphic nature.