published Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Bledsoe woman charged in deaths of elderly sisters faces hearings

Brenda Brown, right, is escorted into the Bledsoe County General Sessions Court by Investigator Ricky Seals, left, for a short hearing before Judge Howard Upchurch. Brown is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
Brenda Brown, right, is escorted into the Bledsoe County General Sessions Court by Investigator Ricky Seals, left, for a short hearing before Judge Howard Upchurch. Brown is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
Photo by Ben Benton.

The Pikeville, Tenn., woman charged in the August slayings of two elderly sisters now faces a preliminary hearing in the killings and a separate probation revocation hearing.

Brenda K. Brown, 47, was on probation when she was charged with murder in the shooting deaths of her mother-in-law, Elizabeth Brown, 82, and Elizabeth Brown’s sister, Billy Sue Blaylock, 79. The sisters’ bodies were found Aug. 16 on their property on Mills Dam Road.

Assistant District Attorney Jim Pope said Brenda Brown is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Nov. 14 and faces a tentative Dec. 2 date in Bledsoe County Circuit Court for a probation revocation hearing.

The revocation hearing stems from probation ordered after her unrelated convictions in August 2010 on felony charges of aggravated burglary, theft over $10,000 and vandalism over $500, court records show.

In August 2010, Brown pleaded guilty to all counts and was sentenced to four years and 10 days by Circuit Court Judge Curtis Smith, records show. Smith ordered Brown to serve all but 10 days of the sentence on probation.

Pope said the revocation hearing date is tentative because a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 14 in General Sessions Court and the soonest a possible indictment could be returned is Dec. 2.

The revocation hearing is only necessary if the Nov. 14 preliminary hearing results in an indictment when the grand jury reviews the case on Nov. 28. In that event, Brown likely would have an attorney appointed when she appears on Dec. 2, he said.

“The revocation hearing is going to be held in abeyance pending the murder charges,” Pope said.

Brown will appear before Rhea County General Sessions Judge Jim McKenzie for the preliminary hearing in place of Bledsoe County General Sessions Judge Howard Upchurch, who recused himself from proceedings because he previously represented the slain sisters and the defendant.

Brown was arrested Aug. 24 on two counts of first-degree murder in the slayings of the sisters, records show.

Sheriff Jimmy Morris said following Brown’s arrest that authorities found the sisters shot to death on Aug. 16, Elizabeth Brown in her bed and Blaylock next to some steps outside. Both women were still in their nightclothes and each had been shot once in the face, Morris said.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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