Rocky Houston won't be re-tried in shootings of deputy and friend

Rocky Houston won't be re-tried in shootings of deputy and friend

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Rocky Houston Rocky Houston

KINGSTON (WATE) - The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals ruled Wednesday Rocky Houston won't be re-tried for the fatal shootings of a Roane County deputy and his friend in May 2006.

Instead, the charges against Houston are dismissed.

"The first thing I did was I got down on my knees and thanked God because he delivered us from some deep dark waters," said Rocky's brother, Leon Houston.

Leon Houston was also charged in the shooting deaths. He was found not guilty in his November 2009 retrial.

The court said the jury in Rocky Houston's trial in December 2008 reached a verdict of not guilty on the charge of the first degree premeditated murder of Mike Brown and several lesser included offenses before the jurors were discharged.

Rocky Houston is acquitted of those charges, the court said, and his retrial on them is barred by the state and federal constitutions.

"Anytime a person is acquitted of such a serious crime, killing police officers, it makes you second guess yourself. Why are you here serving the public?" said Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton.

For the remainder of the charges involving the shooting of Deputy Bill Jones, the trial court improperly dismissed the jury without declaring a mistrial, the appeals court said.

The court also didn't have Houston's consent, and didn't find a "manifest necessity" to terminate the proceedings when the trial ended.

Since the improper discharge of the jury operates as an acquittal, the principles of double jeopardy bar Houston's retrial for any offense in his indictment.

The appeals court reversed the judgment of the trial court which had permitted a retrial.

Sheriff Stockton feels the lack of a retrial will have consequences for their department.

"I feel like it is putting us in harm's way. Now we have to be twice as alert. We're going to be very on edge. We even had a report today an officer's cruiser had been fired upon while it was parked in a front yard. Things like that we feel are going to get worse," the sheriff says.

The Houstons say, in the end, their case boiled down to constitutional rights, and that's what makes them happy to live in this country.

"My brother's not a cop killer. He's got the biggest heart in the world. He's the man I'd like to be," Leon Houston said.

6 News spoke to the mothers of both victims by phone Wednesday. Deputy Bill Jones' mother didn't want to comment. Mike Brown's mother said she was disappointed.

Rocky Houston is behind bars now awaiting trial on another charge.

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