published Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Suspect in Bledsoe County slayings hospitalized

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    Bledsoe County authorities have arrested Brenda K. Brown, 47, of Pikeville, in the slayings of sisters Elizabeth Brown, 82, and Billie Sue Blaylock, 79, investigators said.

Bledsoe County authorities say Brenda Brown, the woman charged in the slayings of two elderly sisters in August, was hospitalized for several days this week following an incident during a medical visit.

Bledsoe County Investigator Ricky Seals said Brown, 47, was taken to Chattanooga for a medical treatment Monday.

"During the treatment process, something happened on Ms. Brown's part that caused her to be hospitalized and she's just getting out today," Seals said on Friday.

"It wasn't a medical issue that happened during the test, it was an issue that was brought forth by Ms. Brown," he said.

The investigator did not give further details and did not say whether there would be any charges associated with the incident.

Brown was released from the hospital Friday and handed back to authorities.

"She is being held in an observation cell," he said.

Brown is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of her 82-year-old mother-in-law, Elizabeth Brown, and Elizabeth Brown's sister, Billie Sue Blaylock, 79.

Authorities found the sisters shot to death at their Mill Dam Road property 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, authorities said.

In a search of Brenda Brown's home en route to her Aug. 24 arrest, authorities recovered a .40-caliber handgun and some items identified as belonging to the sisters, investigators said.

Brenda Brown remains in custody without bond, officials said. A court hearing before Rhea County General Sessions Judge Jim McKenzie is set for Sept. 28, officials said.

Bledsoe County General Sessions Judge Howard Upchurch recused himself from the case on Aug. 26 because he had represented the sisters in some changes to their wills, and had once represented Brenda Brown in court.

Upchurch appointed legal counsel for Brenda Brown before making the announcement during a brief hearing the day following her arrest.

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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