published Friday, October 21st, 2011

Dade County jury to begin deliberation on Johnathan Ellison’s murder charges

After a lunch break, the jury will begin deliberating today on the case of a 19-year-old Sand Mountain man charged with murder.

Johnathan Ellison has been on all trial this week for two counts of felony murder and one count each of malice murder, aggravated assault and armed robbery in the death of Antwane Hyatte, 35, of Chattanooga.

Prosecutors argued during the trial that Ellison and co-defendant James Oglesby, 27, who is on trial next year on the same charges, planned to rob Hyatte when he came to Ellison’s house to sell the men marijuana. But when Hyatte arrived the men stabbed him 16 times and he died on the front steps, prosecutors claimed.

Ellison’s defense attorney Steven Miller told the jury in closing statements today that the prosecution hasn't proved Ellison stabbed Hyatte. All they did prove was Ellison lied to police, he said.

"I told you on Monday most of it's lies," Miller said to the jury.

But Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney Len Gregor argued that every criminal investigation has some holes but eventually enough proof is given.

"We don't have a perfect case," Gregor said. "At some point, you can figure out what the picture is without every piece [of the puzzle]."

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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