Roane brothers' death scene photos continue causing controversy

Roane County brothers' death scene photos continue causing controversy

This is one of the signs on the Houstons' property. This is one of the signs on the Houstons' property.
Deputy Bill Jones and Mike Brown Deputy Bill Jones and Mike Brown

6 News Reporter

KINGSTON (WATE) - Two Roane County brothers are at the center of a controversy again.

People there are complaining about crime scene photos posted online and in public of a deputy and his friend who were shot to death in May 2006.

Deputy Bill Jones and Mike Brown, a former police officer friend who was with Jones, were killed in a shootout with Rocky Houston and his brother, Leon.

The brothers were tried on first degree murder charges, but neither was convicted.

There are crime scene photos put up on the Houston's property, but you can see them from the road. Sheriff Jack Stockton said he got calls all day Friday from parents concerned because their kids are seeing the graphic photos from the school bus.

But there are mixed reactions to these photos. 6 News did not show them on air due to their graphic nature.

Chief Deputy Tim Phillips was friends with Deputy Jones. He says driving by the Houston's property and seeing the photos of his friend is upsetting.

"To see anybody, let alone someone that you knew, someone who wears the same uniform and does the same job as you, it's really disturbing to see that whether it's on a billboard or whether it's on the Internet. It's awful," Phillips said.

The Houstons put up the pictures and billboards, along with government conspiracy accusations, on their own property, according to Sheriff Stockton.

Some residents wish they weren't visible from the road. "I don't think they should have posted it that close. Everyone's going to know any way so I don't think they should have put it up there for publicity. It's like a publicity stunt," Buffy Murray said.

But Carlton Bay says the Houstons have every right to display the pictures. "It's his land. You really can't go there and tell him what to do on his property," he said.

In a press release, District Attorney General Russell Johnson says the Houstons do have legal possession of the photos, but displaying them on a billboard speaks to Rocky Houston's character.

Chief Deputy Phillips agrees and says the public display has been hard on the victims' families.

"Bill's family and Mike's family don't deserve to be treated that way. They don't deserve to have to re-live those days. It just opens up wounds I'm sure they've been trying to heal," Phillips said.

The DA says Rocky Houston was provided an opportunity to meet with a grand jury to testify about his "conspiracy theories," but he didn't show up or produce any evidence.

6 News tried to call Rocky and Leon Houston Friday, but our calls were not returned.

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