Leon Houston: unrelated lawsuits, new book could taint jury pool

Leon Houston: unrelated lawsuits, new book could taint jury pool

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"What bothers me is, these potential jurors have been gathered together in an attempt to maliciously prosecute the Houston brothers by people who are in conflict of interest and who are refusing to take their hands off of our civil rights," Leon says. "What bothers me is, these potential jurors have been gathered together in an attempt to maliciously prosecute the Houston brothers by people who are in conflict of interest and who are refusing to take their hands off of our civil rights," Leon says.
"All Rocky and Leon Houston need is one justice seeker, just one justice seeker. That's all it takes to get a mistrial out here," Rocky says. "All Rocky and Leon Houston need is one justice seeker, just one justice seeker. That's all it takes to get a mistrial out here," Rocky says.

By ANN KEIL
6 News Reporter

TEN MILE (WATE) -- The judge presiding over Leon Houston's retrial has asked the Roane County Criminal Court Clerk's Office to summon more potential jurors for his upcoming trial. That would raise the number from 500 to 700.

Leon and his brother, Rocky Houston, are charged with the fatal shootings of Roane County Deputy Bill Jones and his friend, a ride along civilian named Mike Brown, in May 2006.

"God's truth, I'm a nervous wreck," Leon says.

Houston knew nothing about the additional summons until Wednesday night. He says it deepened his mistrust of the clerk's office.

He also says there's a conflict of interest due to a unrelated lawsuit he filed against the clerk, Angela Barnes. He accuses her of ignoring court orders and tampering with the jury pool.

"What bothers me is, these potential jurors have been gathered together in an attempt to maliciously prosecute the Houston brothers by people who are in conflict of interest and who are refusing to take their hands off of our civil rights," Leon says.

The clerk's office wouldn't respond to these allegations, but it said presiding Judge David Hayes excused a large number of people from the jury pool.

Leon's first trial ended in a hung jury in July 2008.

Rocky's first trial in December 2008 concluded with no verdict in Jones' death, but a not guilty finding in the killing of Brown.

The brothers were released on bonds in March after nearly three years in jail.

Another concern for Leon is "An East Tennessee Nightmare Lying in Wait," a book written by Babette Antoniak about what allegedly happened during the deadly shootout.

"It's trash. It's a lie form start to finish. It's an attempt to taint the jury pool in Roane County against the Houston brothers," he says.

Rocky is equally disturbed. "All Rocky and Leon Houston need is one justice seeker, just one justice seeker. That's all it takes to get a mistrial out here," Rocky says.

Leon Houston will back in court Thursday, July 23 for a motions hearing. His trial date has been set for August 10.  

Rocky Houston told 6 News his attorney, Randy Rogers, might withdraw from his case.

Rocky says the reason for the change is because Rogers may be asked to take the stand in his brother's upcoming trial.

Rogers was unavailable for comment Wednesday night.

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