Update: Monroe County, Tennessee Judge Allows for Wrongful Conviction of Man Claiming Self-Defense

MICHAEL DEWY ELLINGTON CONVICTED ON CHARGE OF FIRST-DEGREE PREMEDITATED MURDER

by Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III

Tennessee has become one of the most corrupt states in the nation, with neither the governor nor the attorney general willing to take action against criminal law enforcement and the judiciary

(May 19, 2011) — Judge Amy Armstrong Reedy watches passively while the prosecutor drops an incendiary bomb on Ellington’s defense in front of a rigged jury! An innocent man sentenced to life in prison!

James H. Stutts’s 22-minute final closing argument yesterday in the murder trial of Mr. Michael Dewey Ellington confirms the complete absence of integrity of Tennessee State’s criminal justice system.

A 12-member jury found Michael Ellington guilty yesterday evening of the premeditated first-degree murder of Julia A. Kinsey on 17 March 2009.

Judge Amy Armstrong Reedy presided over Ellington’s murder trial. James H. Stutts prosecuted for Tennessee State.

Stutts called seven prosecution witnesses before he rested his case at midday.

Defense attorneys Jeanne Wiggins and Richard Hughes rested after Reedy denied a defense motion for a directed judgment to acquit Ellington.

Jury deliberations ran for mere minutes. During their brief encounter, the jury reviewed the 34-minute DVD video of Monroe County Sheriff’s detectives 17-18 March 2009 interview of Ellington.

But it’s Prosecutor Stutts’s final argument that gives up the game regarding this bogus murder trial!

It’s in Stutts’s 22-minute closing argument wherein Stutts betrayed himself, his boss R. Steve Bebb, “Judge” Amy Armstrong Reedy, Monroe County Sheriff Bill Bivens and his deputies and so many other court functionaries as the criminal thugs they are.

Prosecutor Stutts testified as a criminal investigator and expert criminal forensics analyst to the Ellington jury for the first time during closing argument that Michael Ellington worked in conspiracy with his two brothers to protect Michael, making it appear that Ms. Julia Kinsey had attacked Michael Ellington with a knife.

Stutts testified to the jury for the first time during his closing comments that Michael Ellington departed the residence where Julia Kinsley lay, then journeyed to meet with Ellington’s two brothers.

Stutts testified before the jury that Michael Ellington met with his brothers and conspired with them, directing them  to return to the location where Ms. Kinsey lay.

Stutts testified before the jury—in the seconds before Ellington’s jury repaired to the jury room for deliberations—that Ellington’s two bothers returned to where Ms. Kinsey lay to arrange the scene, to arrange physical objects intending to protect brother Michael Ellington from a murder charge.

Stutts testified to the jury that only after staging the area around Ms. Kinsey did one of the two brothers call 911 for emergency service response.

Stutts held up the knife entered into evidence. Holding the knife at the connection of blade and handle between thumb and forefinger, Stutts entertained Ellington’s jury with Stutts’s personal expert forensics analysis not heretofore narrated in open court.

He then testified before Michael Ellington’s jury that Michael’s brothers had positioned the knife. Stutts showed the jury (from a distance) how one side of the handle was bloodstained, and the other side was free from any blood. Stutts explained that as the brothers had laid the knife near Kinsey, the face-down side of the handle was set down in a pool of blood. The side facing up was the clean side.

Stutts offered no testimony about the knife blade, nor did he testify about how it was that the blade appeared clean on both sides.

Using other props of the courtroom door leading to the judges’ chambers and his own shoes (kicking them off, putting them back on) Stutts witnessed to the jury for the first time how the Ellington brothers arranged the scene to protect Michael.

Stutts then produced a mystery sheet of paper not seen or discussed before in open court. He held the document up at a distance, unreadable to anyone but himself.  The record (whatever the paper was) was not given to the jury for inspection nor was the sheet of paper entered into evidence. The document record was not given to Ellington’s defense team.

Then Stutts, in his testimony, gave out two specific time marks and the lapse of time between the two time marks.  In front of the jury and in open court, Stutts testified about the significance of this new information no one else had testified about.

Stutts testified to the jury that the 911 call time stamp was 11:06 p.m., March 17, 2009.

Stutts testified to the jury that the Ellington brothers first arrived to the scene where Ms. Kinsey lay at 10:48 p.m. on that same night.

He testified to the jury that in the 18 minutes between the brothers’ arrival to Ms. Kinsey’s location at 10:48 p.m. and one of the brothers calling 911 in a first alert at 11:06 p.m., the two Ellington brothers staged the scene as Stutts had previously described.

Stutts dramatically testified: “Two men for 18 minutes!”  He was the first and only person, in closing argument, to tell the trial jury that Michael Ellington went to his brothers and conspired with them.

Stutts was the first and only person, in closing argument, to explain to the jury that Michael Ellington “told them [his brothers] what he did! Told them where to go. Told them to tidy up, straightening the shoes. Told them to make a mess of the scene.”

Stutts testified to the jury that the Ellington brothers “were in the bedroom for 18 minutes [where Ms. Kinsey was lying] stating, “the family had opportunity to doctor the scene.”

Stutts accused the Ellington brothers of moving Ms. Kinsey in their doctoring of the scene. Stutts asked the jurors, “How does she [Kinsey] get up into that corner?”

The round fired from the shotgun was not a round normally fired from the shotgun in evidence. Stutts accused Michael Ellington of loading the shotgun, asserting that Ellington “used [the foreign round] anyway! He [Michael Ellington] shot what he meant to shoot!”

Stutts testified before the jury for the first time in closing argument that in the 18 minutes between 10:48 p.m. and 11:06 p.m. on the night of 17 March 2009, Michael Ellington’s two brothers staged the Kinsey scene.

He stated to the jury the 911 call of 11:06 p.m. was indicated on the mystery sheet of paper Stutts held up.

Stutts did not indicate where he got the time of 10:48 p.m., whereupon Stutts told the jury the two Ellington brothers arrived to Ms. Kinsey’s location.

Prosecutor Stutts’ testimony in closing argument ran for 22 minutes.

The rest of this story

Jurors did not take any written notes at any point during the murder trial.  Judge Reedy made a specific remark on this point during her reading of jury instructions.

Stutts called seven prosecution witnesses during his day-and-a-half presentation.

In order of appearance on day one, Stutts called emergency medical services (EMS) first responder Dennis Hughes, Monroe County Sheriff road Deputy Clint Brookshire, Sheriff Detective Travis Jones, and Dr. Steven Cogswell.

On day two, in order of appearance, Stutts called Monroe County Sheriff Detective Douglass Brannon. After Brannon, Stutts called two Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) criminal forensic evidence experts.

The two TBI forensics experts had each and separately analyzed the single piece of evidence in this case sent off for laboratory analysis, Michael Ellington’s blood draw.  Both TBI forensics experts testified that Ellington’s system was free of any controlled substances.

Stutts entered physical evidence to include the knife used by Kinsey in her 2009 attack of Mr. Ellington.

Road Deputy Brookshire and Detective Brannon were each asked to give the time of the 911 call if able.

Deputy Brookshire did not know.

Brookshire guessed the 911 call came in within one minute from the time of the radio call to Brookshire from sheriff’s dispatch deploying Brookshire to the scene.

When asked, Detective Jones rifled through his notes which he himself described as “incomplete.”

Jones didn’t know the time the 911 call came in.

Prosecutor Stutts was the first person to announce in open court during final argument the time of the 911 call. Stutts relied upon an unidentified sheet of paper not entered into evidence.

Detective Jones testified on Tuesday that the lead detective on the Ellington murder case is Michael Morgan. Sheriff’s Captain Morgan is also described as the head of detectives for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department serving under Sheriff Bill Bivens.

Jones told the court Michael Morgan did not file a report regarding the Ellington murder investigation.

Jones testified the knife in question was one of 14 pieces of physical evidence collected. One of the 14 items was a blood sample drawn from the accused, Michael Ellington.

Jones testified that of the 14 pieces of physical evidence collected, only Michael Ellington’s blood-draw sample was sent to an outside forensics evidence laboratory for expert analysis.

Jones testified that R. Steven Bebb, the district attorney general, made the call to send only Ellington’s blood sample for analysis.  There was no testimony going to why Bebb failed to send out any other physical evidence objects besides the blood sample.

(Author’s note: R. Steve Bebb is the assistant district attorney to Tennessee’s 10th Judicial District. James Stutts works for Bebb as assistant district attorney general.  Of interest is that R. Steven Bebb is a former criminal circuit court judge in the 10th district.)

In particular reference to the shotgun and knife, Defense Attorney Jeanne Wiggins asked several questions regarding the capture and forensics analysis of DNA and fingerprints.

This writer observed that the knife entered into evidence was not protected by an evidence seal.  The box from which the knife was drawn was unsealed at presentation in the court.  This author then provided a written note to one of the assistant public defenders, who was observed taking it to defense attorney Richard Hughes.  The defense team was then put on notice that the evidence presented was not immaculate as required by law.

Detective Jones reported in open court that no fingerprints or DNA was captured from any of the physical evidence items. It was Steve Bebb’s call.

Defense attorney Wiggins focused specifically on why fingerprints were not collected from the shotgun or knife.

Jones evaded answering about the shotgun besides pointing to Steve Bebb as final arbiter on the question.

Sheriff’s Detective Jones testified that the capture of fingerprints from the knife wasn’t possible.

Jones testified in open court that the knife was covered in blood and that the recovery of fingerprints was impossible because of the blood.

It was Stutts’s unsworn testimony, in closing argument, that one side of the knife handle was blood-free, clean. Stutts’ sanalysis as investigator and forensics expert was that Michael’s brothers placed the knife in a pool of Kinsey’s blood.

The face-down side of the knife handle—according to Stutts’s testimony—was covered in blood. The handle side face-up was “clean.”  However, Detective Jones testified that the knife blade was covered in blood.

As observed in open court, as Stutts displayed the knife, the blade was shiny and clean with no blood stains.

No one anywhere analyzed any of the 13 evidence items held in custody by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.  There exist no laboratory reports for the 13 items held in MCSD custody.

None of the 14-seated jurors took notes (12 plus two alternates).  Neither the defense attorneys nor Judge Amy Reedy objected to Stutts’s new conspiracy theory, not heretofore presented in court, which implicated the brothers of Michael Dewey Ellington, neither of whom have been prosecuted for a crime.

The jury was dismissed to deliberate yesterday at 3:15 p.m. EDT.

At 3:40 p.m. Amy Reedy announced to the courtroom audience that the jury had several questions of Reedy.

The jury also informed Reedy they wanted to view the 34-minute DVD video of Michael’s 17-18 March 2009 interview with Sheriff’s Captain Detective Mike Morgan, Detective Travis Jones, and Monroe County Sheriff Bill Bivens.

Actions were taken from 3:40 p.m. until 3:57 p.m. to retrieve a computer platform and the DVD responsive to the jury’s request.

Reedy called the jury back into the public courtroom at 3:58 p.m. Reedy explained to the jury that Reedy could not answer any of their several questions but that the jury could find their answers in Reedy’s jury instructions.

Reedy asked the jury if they wanted to watch the DVD video interview in the courtroom or in the jury room.  The jury asked to watch the DVD video in the jury room.

Reedy dismissed the jury to repair to the jury room at 3:58 p.m.

The jury announced, “we’re ready” at 5:10 p.m.

The jury returned to the courtroom at 5: 17 p.m., and handed down their verdict: Michael Dewey Ellington guilty of premeditated murder in the first degree.

Amy Reedy dismissed the jury at 5:18 p.m.

Reedy then handed down sentence: Life in prison with possibility of parole.

Reedy held the courtroom audience until 5:24 p.m. to allow the jury time to depart the courthouse and then adjourned.

More reports follow regarding observations upon Tennessee State’s conduct of the Michael Ellington murder trial.

The FBI has been notified of the conduct and outcome of the trial:  19 May 2011 call to FBI (1) 19 May 2001 call to FBI (2)

One Response to "Update: Monroe County, Tennessee Judge Allows for Wrongful Conviction of Man Claiming Self-Defense"

  1. Zeb Blanchard   Friday, May 20, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    Walt’s previous story seemed to indicate that the pubic defender was doing her job. I wondered at that. Apparently she was made an “offer” prior to closing arguments, which was, don’t challenge the prosecuting attorney, which she didn’t do. Her behavior was beyond unethical.
    My D.A. is Jeff Langley. He was interviewed by the P&E some time ago. I have copied this story for his comments and will give it to him in the morning.

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