by Sharon Rondeau

(May 3, 2016) — On April 20, The Post & Email published an update on the case of State of Tennessee v. Roy Cook, a case emanating from Roane County which has entered its fourth year without a trial or resolution.

Cook alleges that the prosecution has withheld exculpatory evidence and that his three successive attorneys have not pursued a sincere defense on his behalf.

In April 2013, Roy Cook’s twin brother, Andrew, accused him of “extortion” in the matter of missing computer circuit boards which were later located, but not before Roy allegedly demanded $30,000 for their return.

Roy Cook denies the charge and has mounted an aggressive self-defense, accusing Tennessee’s Ninth Judicial District of misconduct and withholding evidence which could exonerate him.

The original investigator, Jeff Vittatoe, whose emails with Andrew Cook were sent from a personal Yahoo! account rather than a government email address, moved to Montana in 2014.  Portions of the emails are missing, and Roy Cook claims that the prosecution has “tampered with evidence.”

A website for the Ninth Judicial District has a “.com” suffix rather than the customary “.gov” for government websites.

According to Roy Cook, the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Robert Edwards, has failed to seek Vonage telephone logs which Roy says contain exculpatory evidence.  Although Roy Cook’s computers were seized and allegedly analyzed forensically for a period of 20 months, no forensics report has been made available.  “Edwards the prosecutor actually admits he knows nothing about any forensic analysis or Andrew’s Vonage logs,” Roy Cook told The Post & Email last month.

Roy Cook is also dissatisfied with the Bill of Particulars produced in February by the prosecution nine months after his then-attorney, Joshua Hedrick, requested it last May.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for July 5.

During a hearing on April 15, Roy Cook asked Judge Jeffrey Wicks to dismiss the case, a move none of his attorneys would make while representing him.

On Monday, Roy Cook sent the following email to Assistant District Attorney General Robert Edwards of Tennessee’s Ninth Judicial District, which is prosecuting the case.

Mr. Edwards

Since I have not heard from anyone about my new attorney yet, I feel the need to continue to investigate and obtain evidence to prove my innocence.  You told Judge Wicks on 4/15/2016 you had never heard of the evidence I mentioned. I think we both know that is not entirely true. I have multiple emails to my attorneys discussing the forensic analysis of the 3 computers.  I also sent you and Josh Hedrick an email on 2/22/2016 requesting the phone records.  The phone records are mentioned in an email from Andrew Cook to Jeff Vittatoe.  Vittatoe also mentions them in his Investigative Summary as well as in the Affidavit for Search Warrant. These items were in the evidence that was turned over to me on 8/15/2014 so I can only assume you have had this evidence in your possession for at least the same amount of time.

Also, if you read the evidence receipt log you will see Vittatoe writes that on 5/21/2013, “highlighted item have been released to Lt. Dan Schneider for forensic analysis”. However, there is no initials in the chain of custody.  In addition to that someone whited out the Submitting Agents name.  You have had this in your possession for at least 2 years also. It’s obvious that someone whited out parts of the log just as they did the emails.

Regarding the redacted emails;  you claim you cannot find them.  Have you ever considered issuing a subpoena to EarthLink?  Hedrick was suppose to be working on that but at the last minute changed his mind after misleading me for months.  I have called them and they refuse to discuss the subpoena with me because I am not an attorney.

I would also request a valid Bill of Particulars at this point.  By that I mean specifically what piece of evidence you are looking at to prove a point.  The one you provided was very vague.  From reading it and also from discovering you lack of knowledge on 4/15/2016, I can only surmise that you have not even reviewed the evidence against me. I would hope that before you tried to convict anyone of a felony, you would at least familiarize yourself with the evidence.

In conclusion, I find it very odd that 30 minutes before we had our encounter on 4/15/2016 your office and Judge Wicks accepted a guilty plea from a woman for tampering with evidence where she received 2 years probation and its obvious that someone in your own office has tampered with evidence and withheld evidence.   Perhaps you should investigate and discover who did this. If it wasn’t you then it had to be Russell Johnson, Terry Stevens, or Jeff Vittatoe.  Tampering with and withholding evidence is a serious offense as it hinders a defendant’s ability to obtain the evidence to exonerate themselves. So please consider this another formal request for the following:

1. Bill of Particulars and be specific.
2. Vonage Call logs in the Excel format plaintiff provided to Vittatoe as well as page 2 of the call logs supplied originally.
3. any and all evidence from the forensic analysis of items seized from my home.
4. all email exchanges between plaintiff and Vittatoe and Prosecutor’s office.
5. the names of all other law enforcement agencies plaintiff contacted and the dates including but not limited to FBI agent Clay Anderson
6. the non redacted emails as well as the identity of the persons responsible for redacting them.
7.  the un-doctored Evidence Log as well as the identity of the person who tampered with it.

Please have these items to me before our next court date so I have time to review them.

Over more than six years, The Post & Email has reported on corruption and lack of due process within Tennessee’s criminal court system, a topic the local media is unwilling to broach.

All Tennessee defendants are indicted by a county grand jury prior to being charged, but grand juries are commandeered by judicially-appointed foremen who serve for years or even decades.  A Tennessee Supreme Court case from 1883 located by a Tennessee prison inmate reveals that at that time, it was a given that the grand jury foreman came from the empaneled jury pool.

Because of the way the Tennessee Open Records Act is written, The Post & Email has repeatedly been denied case file documents by various court clerks with rare exceptions.

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