Two men indicted for murder
By J.J. Kindred | (email@example.com)
Thirteen true bills were returned by a Blount County grand jury Monday, including two for first-degree murder.
• Clinton Garrett Walton, 31, Enterprise Way, was indicted in the Feb. 10, 2012, homicide of 37-year-old Brian David Fann, of Blair Loop Road in Walland.
• James Howard Harmon Jr., 44, Powell, was indicted in the slaying of 60-year-old Direa Sue Lett at her Louisville home on June 20, 2011.
Walton is also charged with especially aggravated robbery, theft greater than $500 and two counts of theft greater than $1,000 in connection with the incident.
Officers responded to Fann’s home after dispatchers received a report of an injured person at 1:24 p.m. Feb. 10. Fann was found dead in the home.
Questioned by Blount County Assistant District Attorney Shari Tayloe during his hearing in May 2012, Blount County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sgt. Shannon Carswell said when she and other officers responded to the call of the homicide, she saw Fann’s body with a gunshot wound to the head, propped up in a seated position in the master bedroom.
Walton was seen by Fann’s neighbor driving a Toyota RAV 4 SUV that belonged to Walton’s parents, Carswell said, adding his parents gave him permission to drive the vehicle but not out of town.
Carswell testified that officers went to Walton’s parents’ home to look for him, but he was not there. On Feb. 11, 2012, they were called by Canadian border patrol agents through the National Crime Information Center, reporting they had found the vehicle as Walton tried to cross the border into Canada from Detroit. His parents had to report the vehicle missing since Walton was a suspect in the homicide.
Walton was taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents in Detroit that morning. He was held in the Wayne County (Mich.) Detention Facility until his extradition back to Blount County on Feb. 18, 2012.
According to Carswell’s testimony, Walton may have killed Fann because he feared for his life, and Fann had threatened to kill him and his family because of money he owed him. Walton allegedly used a 9-mm handgun to shoot Fann.
Walton remains in the Blount County Detention Facility in lieu of $1.1 million bond.
In addition to murder charges, the grand jury also indicted James Howard Harmon Jr. on especially aggravated kidnapping, theft of property greater than $1,000, arson and abuse of a corpse, stemming from an incident on June 20, 2011.
Harmon was charged with killing Direa Sue Lett and stealing her car. Lett, 60, lived with her 19-month-old granddaughter and son, Ty Lett, at a house on East Cumberland Drive in the Lakemont area of Louisville.
Her body was found in bed after a fire destroyed half the residence in the wee hours of June 20, 2011. An autopsy at University of Tennessee Medical Center revealed that the badly burned body had been shot multiple times.
Lett’s Chrysler Sebring was also discovered missing, and Harmon was believed to have stolen the car. A large manhunt was soon under way, but Harmon wasn’t located until Aug. 26, 2011, when he was picked up in Huerfano, Colo., during a traffic stop.
Harmon has an extensive history of violence that dates back to at least 2008 and spans three East Tennessee counties and Florida. He remains jailed in lieu of $1.1 million bond.
The grand jury also returned the following indictments:
• Chris Alan Webster, 38, Knoxville, attempted aggravated statutory rape, attempt to criminally expose another to HIV, simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia, stemming from an incident on Sept. 20, 2012.
• Autumn Hope Cain, 24, Knoxville, DUI, stemming from an incident on May 24. 2012.
• Sean Daran Williams, 31, Grayson Drive, Alcoa, driving on a suspended license, stemming from an incident on May 12, 2012.
• Tony Daren Payne, 42, Six Mile Road, Maryville, DUI, stemming from an incident on April 6, 2012.
• Rodolfo L. Aquino, 46, Port Place, Maryville, DUI (third offense), stemming from an incident on Aug. 26, 2012.
• Kenneth Lee Palmer Sr., 63, Mel Hall Road, Maryville, aggravated assault, stemming from an incident on Feb. 13, 2010.
• Corey Todd Montgomery, 30, Lovers Lane, Townsend, theft greater than $1,000, stemming from an incident on April 13, 2011.
• Jeffrey Lee Martin, 45, Madisonville, promotion of the manufacturing of methamphetamine, stemming from an incident on Oct. 29, 2012.
• Rachel Lynn Smith, 31, Smokey View Estates Drive, Maryville, two counts of contributing to the delinquency and neglect of a minor and two counts of educational neglect, stemming from an incident on March 21, 2012.
• Felicia Joan Graham, 27, Alfred McCammon Road, Maryville, child neglect, stemming from an incident on Aug. 31, 2012.
• Alton Cody Milligan, 24, Sevierville, solicitation for especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, stemming from an incident on Sept. 21, 2012.