published Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Grundy County homicide case bound over

The homicide case against a 24-year-old slaying suspect was bound over by the Grundy County grand jury this week, according to officials and court records.

The grand jury will hear evidence in the criminal homicide case against Daniel Clay McDaniel, of Gruetli-Laager, Tenn., Grundy County Sheriff Brent Myers said. McDaniel is charged in connection the March 22 slaying of Joshua Wade Stevens, 26, also of Gruetli-Laager, Myers said.

According to the affidavit of complaint, the sheriff was the first officer to arrive at the shooting scene, a home at 26729 State Road 108 in Gruetli-Laager.

Myers said in the affidavit that he "determined that the defendant had shot the victim with a 9 mm pistol" and that Stevens appeared to have "multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen."

The sheriff performed CPR on Stevens until an ambulance arrived, but Stevens was pronounced dead at Emerald Hodgeson Hospital, records state.

Grundy's grand jury meets July 9 and will report July 20, according to Steve Strain, assistant district attorney in the 12th Judicial District, who presented the case at a preliminary hearing Monday in General Sessions Court.

Strain said the testimony Monday before Judge William R. "Trey" Anderson III related mostly to the criminal allegations, but didn't shed much light on motive.

Several people -- friends or relatives -- were in the yard at the home when an altercation began that ended in the shooting, Strain said. One witness testified that Stevens and another man -- not McDaniel -- argued before the shooting, Strain said.

After that argument, McDaniel "said some things" to Stevens and Stevens approached McDaniel and hit him, he said. The witness testified that McDaniel shot Stevens twice, according to Strain.

"The victim says, 'You've killed me,' then collapses," Strain said, describing the testimony. He said prosecutors believe "deadly force was unjustified."

McDaniel's lawyer, Steven T. Greer, of Dunlap, Tenn., said that while the defense usually doesn't put on proof in a preliminary hearing, he did call two witnesses Monday to begin establishing the defense's perspective on the incident.

"Our position is that my client shot in self-defense," Greer said.

He said the pending autopsy should shed light on where the gunshots struck Stevens and from what position they were fired.

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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