KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The family of a Roane County woman who was shot to death in 2011 says they feel like they have hit another roadblock in the path to justice.
Shawn Smoot, the man accused of killing Brooke Morris, was appointed a new attorney on Monday. The family says this latest courtroom move will slow down the case again.
Morris was 23 when she was found dead in October 2011. Smoot, her ex-boyfriend, fled to Mississippi where he was captured. He is now out on bond and awaiting trial.
Tina Gregg, Brooke's mother, was hoping to see Smoot in court Monday. He was not there.
"Well, of course I'm disappointed," she said.
"Everything is on hold until the new counsel gets a chance to get oriented with the case," explained Roane County Assistant District Attorney Bill Reedy.
For Brooke's family, Smoot's freedom while out on bond is an issue of safety.
"We're all afraid of running into him. He may know where we live," Gregg said.
Smoot lives in a house on Carina Lane in Corryton. He was not at home when 6 News stopped by.
The house is just a few miles from Brooke's sister. The family originally was hoping that the judge would move Monday on some motions that would help them feel safer.
"I think [Smoot] needs an ankle bracelet, a monitoring device," she said.
With the latest legal hold up, it's hard for the family to predict what the justice system will do next. They worry it might be months before their motions can be heard, dragging out the trauma of Brooke's murder even longer.
"It was 19 months yesterday. He's been out on bond since March. It's been held up and I'm ready to go to court," Gregg said.