KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The date for a new trial has been set in the brutal 2008 murder of a Knoxville waitress after the state appeals court ruled Thursday that errors by the defendant’s legal counsel denied the convicted man access to a fair trial.
Micah Ross Johnson began serving life in prison in 2011 after being convicted of the murder, kidnapping and robbery of 24-year-old Carrie Daugherty. The bartender/waitress was employed at Barley’s Tap Room & Pizzeria when she was found beaten to death in the street outside her North Knoxville home in March 2008.
Johnson’s conviction was overturned in January and a new trial was ordered after a three-judge panel with the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals agreed with Johnson’s new defense team, WATE legal analyst Greg Isaacs and J. Franklin Ammons, successfully argued that Johnson’s previous counsel made multiple errors during the appeal process.
A bond hearing will be held May 25, ahead of a new trial date in Knox County Criminal Court on January 9, 2023.
Johnson’s defense argued in 2011 that he was criminally insane and suffered from severe mental problems starting in 2006, alleging he’d been hearing voices speak to him. Johnson’s girlfriend, who had been Daugherty’s roommate, testified that Johnson experienced a mental deterioration after he was kicked out of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Psychologists testified on behalf of both the defense and prosecution.
The post-conviction court issued an order denying post-conviction relief on Feb. 26, 2019. An appeal of that decision found their findings of fact and conclusions were inadequate and remanded the case to the post-conviction court. The post-conviction court again denied relief on Feb. 22, 2021.
Evidence presented at the trial showed Daugherty was beaten over the head with a brick, mutilated with a shovel, and found with a rope tied around her neck.