KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A man charged with the 2008 murder of a Knoxville waitress has filed for a change of venue, among other filings submitted on December 6 and 7.
Micah Ross Johnson was convicted in 2011 of the murder, kidnapping, and robbery of 24-year-old Carrie Daugherty and began serving a life sentence. The conviction was overturned in January 2022 as it was determined that his legal counsel denied him access to a fair trial. Following this, a new trial date was set in Knox County Criminal Court for January 9, 2023.
Documents obtained by WATE include a notice of filing, a motion for notice of intention to use evidence, a motion to change trial venue, and an affidavit from the man’s attorney, Greg Issacs, in favor of the change of venue.
The motion for a change of venue argues that it is unlikely that Johnson’s case will receive a fair trial in a Knox County court as media coverage of Johnson’s arrest was “essentially immediate, beginning on March 19, 2008.” As the case went through General Sessions’ court, the media extensively and frequently update coverage of the case, and this pattern continued through the entirety of the trial, sentencing, and subsequent appeals, the motion states.
In Isaacs’ affidavit filed on December 7, it is mentioned that the coverage began in March of 2008 and spanned print, radio, television, social media, and the internet. The extent that this coverage affected the trial was also included in the affidavit, stating that a review of the transcript from the original trial shows that a jury panel of approximately 300 jurors had to be called.
The motion for notice of intention to use evidence simply states that it is necessary for Johnson to be notified of what evidence the prosecution will introduce in court for him to be able to object before trial, and for his counsel to be prepared for the introduction of evidence or make appropriate motions to litigate the admissibility of the evidence.
Lastly, the notice of filing lists the items filed with the court on December 6. Other motions mentioned in the notice of filing were the motion for notice of intention to use specific photographic evidence, the motion to disqualify the assistant attorney, and the motion to continue the January 2023 Trial setting.
Johnson is represented in this trial by both Isaacs and Ashlee B. Mathis, according to the signature line on the bottom of the notice of filing, notice of intention to use evidence, and the motion to change trial venue.