published Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Family of Ringgold teen shot to death asks district attorney to step aside from the case

  • photo
    Dalton McConathy is pictured with his mother, Kim Lowery in this family photo.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

An attorney for the family of the Ringgold teenager who was shot dead in November has asked District Attorney Herbert “Buzz” Franklin to recuse himself from handling the case.

On Wednesday morning, McCracken Poston sent an email to Franklin and Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk with an attached petition signed by members of the community who apparently want Franklin to present the case to a grand jury.

In the email, Poston told Franklin that he thinks the prosecutor may not be able to objectively examine the killing of 17-year-old Dalton McConathy because Franklin has prosecuted McConathy’s father in the past.

“I am going to ask you, Buzz, to consider recusing yourself due to the position you have often been put into to prosecute Bobby McConathy, if it in any way has biased your opinion in this tragedy regarding Dalton,” Poston wrote.

On Nov. 11, according to a Sheriff’s Office incident report, Dalton McConathy and a 16-year-old friend went to the home of Fred Steven Youngblood. Apparently, they were trying to get scrap metal.

Outside, Youngblood confronted the teens, telling them to leave. Then, the 69-year-old said, McConathy and the other boy charged at him.

Youngblood said he feared for his life and fired his gun in self-defense. He hit McConathy in the neck, killing the boy. The Sheriff’s Office arrested McConathy’s friend and his girlfriend, who was waiting in the front of the house, on charges of burglary. On Wednesday, Poston said this too is a reason why Franklin should recuse himself from the case of Youngblood, who has not been charged in connection with the shooting.

“By taking the position that these young persons were perhaps putting themselves in the position for Mr.Youngblood to legally assault and kill them should disqualify you from the serious consideration of whether Mr. Youngblood was justified to embrace the ‘stand your ground’ defense for the senseless killing of Dalton,” Poston wrote.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or at tjett@timesfreepress.com

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