KINGSTON, Tenn. (WATE) – Convicted murderer Shawn Smoot was in court on Monday to hear about his future with his attorney.
On Oct. 3, Smoot’s appointed attorney, Andrew Thompson, filed a post-conviction motion to withdraw as his counsel. During the hearing on Monday, Thompson cited communication issues as to why he chose to withdraw.
Smoot told Judge Jeff Wicks that he filed a complaint against attorney Thompson because he had no contact information and never heard from him.
Judge Wicks allowed attorney Thompson to withdraw and appointed Smoot a new attorney, Gerald Gulley. During the hearing, Judge Wicks asked Smoot to be patient and reminded him that the process takes awhile as attorneys review trial transcripts.
Smoot was convicted in 2016 of first degree murder in the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend, Brooke Morris, on Oct, 15, 2011. Smoot is spending the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Getting a conviction took time – five years. There were 22 delays in the trial, mostly from Smoot requesting to have new attorneys on his case.
Morris’ mother was in court on Monday and says it was like déjà vu.
“It’s rough. It’s always rough seeing him. It makes my blood boil, but I know it’s a process. It’s due process for them, but of course Brooke has no process,” said Gregg.
She says the family knew a hearing like this was coming, they just didn’t know when, “They have to bring another one in [attorney], that’s just longer for you to have to wait. It doesn’t bother me a bit because I know he’s not going to get a new trial.”
Thinking back to all of the delays and new attorneys, Gregg says it makes her angry.
“Just the fact that he gets so many tries, so many chances and all the money that it costs,” added Gregg.
Leaving the Roane County Courthouse on Monday, Gregg says she doesn’t know what’s next, “Well, I just wait like I always have.”
WATE 6 On Your Side reached out to Smoot’s newly appointed attorney, Gerald Gulley, about their next steps but we haven’t heard back yet.
Last week Morris’ mother, along with the mothers of Emma Walker and Brittany Eldridge held a vigil. Their hope during October, Domestic Violence Awareness month, was to highlight the prevalence of abuse and that there are resources to help you get out safely.
Five years, 22 trial delays & new attorneys
In 2016, after almost a week of testimony and just over three hours of deliberations, a jury found Smoot guilty of first degree premeditated murder.
During the trial, Smoot’s ex-wife took the stand explaining to the jury what she did when she found out about Smoot’s and Morris’s relationship.
Friends of Morris’ and her landlord also testified, pointing to encounters they had with Smoot.
After two months in prison, Smoot filed a motion for a new trial. He was representing himself and the motion was a handwritten note. That request was denied.
Smoot is currently being housed at the Morgan County Correctional Complex. Tennessee Department of Correction representatives say Smoot has not had any disciplinary violations while in TDOC custody.