published Friday, August 17th, 2012

Monroe County murder suspect purposely isolated in jail, corrections officer says

  • photo
    Jessica Kennedy looks on during a Thursday, Sept. 15 2011 court hearing in Madisonville, Tenn., where she is charged in the July 10, 2010 slaying of Monroe County Election Commission Chairman Jim Miller.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

MADISONVILLE, Tenn. — The female suspect in the 2010 killing of a Monroe County man was isolated from other inmates while in jail, a corrections officer testified today.

Administrators told her to keep Jessica Kennedy away from other inmates, Corrections Officer Ellen Wilburn said.

She also confirmed Kennedy’s claim that she was threatened by Wallace “Boonie” Stokes Jr., who also was in custody at the Monroe County Jail.

“I had trouble with him screaming at her to keep her mouth shut,” Wilburn said.

In some statements to investigators, Kennedy said Stokes was involved in Miller’s death.

Kennedy is charged with felony murder, aggravated robbery, abuse of a corpse and arson in the death of Monroe County Election Commission Chairman Jim Miller. His burned body was found in the trunk of a car on July 17, 2010.

On the fifth day of the trial, Wilburn testified that Kennedy was held in a small visitation room. The room did not have running water, bathroom facilities or a bed, she said.

Officers often housed inmates in the visitation rooms, Wilburn said, because the jail was overcrowded. However, she said she thought Kennedy was held in the room longer than most inmates.

Kennedy was never denied food, water, bathroom breaks or showers, Wilburn testified.

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

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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