published Monday, February 27th, 2012

Hamilton County judge splits cases, sets trial date for first defendant in murder case

Right2Know at

A judge has ordered separate trials for four co-defendants in a 2010 home invasion murder case.

John Thomas Simpson, 31, will be the first to face a trial in the June 29, 2010 shooting death of Bernard Hughes.

Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole said today he would pick trial dates on Wednesday for Simpson’s co-defendants — Steven James Ballou, Harold Francis Butler III and Unjolee Tremone Moore.

All four defense attorneys requested separate trials after learning prosecutors planned to use statements made by Simpson and Moore, which "implicate" them and the other co-defendants in the killing.

For more details see tomorrow's Times Free Press.

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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