published Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Court Briefs: Woman indicted in slaying case

Woman indicted in slaying case

The Hamilton County grand jury has indicted a 37-year-old woman in the shooting death of a 17-year-old during a Feb. 18 street fight.

Margaret Harris is accused of killing James Dominick Sherrell, the 17-year-old boyfriend of her daughter Latoya Harris, 20. Margaret Harris is scheduled to appear April 8 in Hamilton County Criminal Court

During a preliminary hearing in General Sessions Court, witnesses testified that the violence that led to Sherrell’s death started about 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 18, when a fight broke out at a bus stop near 1308 N. Orchard Knob Ave.

Some of the people, mostly teens, who were involved in that fight began battling again about three hours later in the same area.

Witnesses testified that Sherrell and Margaret Harris’ boyfriend, Bryant Hill, fought briefly and that she pulled a pistol and fired across the roof of the car at Sherrell, hitting him in the abdomen.

Slaying suspect gets gun sentence

A 23-year-old Chattanooga man due in Hamilton County Criminal Court next week on a murder charge has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison on a weapons charge.

U.S. District Judge Harry “Sandy” Mattice sentenced Jeremy Martin Trueitt to nine years and seven months Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to a February 2009 weapons possessions charge, a violation of his conviction on a 2007 domestic violence charge.

Trueitt also is scheduled for an appearance in Hamilton County Criminal Court on April 7 for a second-degree murder charge in connection with the February 2009 death of Robert Cantrell.

Trueitt and Cantrell were on their way to buy drugs the night of the shooting when an altercation broke out, according to Chattanooga Times Free Press archives. Cantrell was shot twice, and one bullet lodged in his skull behind an ear. He later died.

Carpenter case in court Monday

A court date set for Wednesday in the case of a mother charged in connection with the death of her 18-month-old daughter has been moved to Monday.

Traci Leann Carpenter faces a charge of aggravated child neglect stemming from the 2006 death of her daughter Sierra.

Prosecutors originally charged her and her ex-boyfriend, Brian Rutherford, in connection with the death.

A jury acquitted Rutherford in late 2008. His attorneys argued that Carpenter was responsible for her daughter’s death. A medical examiner testified that repeated poking to Sierra’s head could have led to Sierra’s death.

Carpenter’s attorney, Lee Davis, filed court documents showing that police promised not to charge Carpenter if she passed a polygraph test, which she did.

Compiled by staff writer Todd South, contact at tsouth@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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