How to get away with Murder in Knox County
I know; it sounds harsh and unfair, but it's the truth. The sheriff's department knows who beat Henry, but they haven't felt it necessary to pursue the investigation. And this isn't an isolated case.
15 years ago,in August of 1995, my wife's brother was murdered in Knoxville. The similarities are striking. Scott Norman was a good kid who was trying to straighten out his life after making some bad decisions. He'd gotten into drugs just like Henry, but unlike Henry, he'd managed to get out of the scene. One day, he gave a friend a ride and was caught up in a drug deal gone bad. He was attacked and savagely beaten,then left to lie in the street for hours before somebody called 911. He lingered for 23 hours before succumbing to his injuries, ad the long delay in treatment contributed to the severity of his injuries.
In Scott's case, the attacker was apprehended almost immediately and confessed to the crime. He spent about three months in jail, before bonding out to await trial. While out on bond, he was arrested several times for petty crimes but for some reason, his bond was never revoked. Jaime Satterfield of the Knoxville News Sentinel picked up the story, and after raising the profile of the case, the attacker went back to jail for a couple of months before bonding out once again. While out on bond, he again was arrested for a major drug crime. This time, the DA took the arrest seriously, much to the dismay of Scott Norman's family. For the purpose of fighting the War on Drugs, the Federal government gives money to state and local courts for successful prosecutions of major drug cases. The DA in Scott's case made a deal with his killer. If he would plea to the drug bust, they would drop the second degree murder charge to manslaughter. The man agreed and pled out to both charges. He was given a 12 year sentence, all but one year converted to probation, and given credit for time served. After sentencing, he served only a few months for a brutal killing before walking out of jail. Did the DA give a murderer a break in order to add a little more money to his budget? I can't say, but I really don't think a few months in jail is an adequate penalty for beating a man to death.
But after all, he really didn't do anything bad, but kill a former drug addict. And the local judicial system received additional funding through the plea deal, so everybody won.
Well, everyone but Scott Norman, but he was a drug user, so who really cared about him or his family.
The same judicial system is now treading the same ground, only this time, the victim is not a voiceless man from a simple family. Henry has a voice, a very loud voice. Led by his mother, Katie Allison Granju, and amplified but hundreds of citizen journalists like me, who will speak out and will do our best to make sure that the KCSO does not let this go by.
I read the KCSO press release, available here, and I'd like to issue a couple of corrections. The attack on Henry was not "alleged." There are x-rays, pictures, and medical testimony to prove that Henry was indeed attacked. When a tir iron is applied to the head and chest, with he resulting physical injuries, at the very least, there is a clear cut case of assault and battery, if not assault with a deadly weapon. The perpetrators have been identified by multiple witnesses. I'm not a skilled detective, and I know the names of the attackers. I have a friend whose son knew Henry and the people he ran around with, and he knows the entire story.
Proving murder will be extremely difficult in this case as the cause of death involves both the beating and the drug overdose. However, the beating would be very easy to prove, and at the very least would get a dangerous group of thugs off the streets for a while.
So now we get to see which is more important to the KCSO and the people who administer justice in Knox County: Justice for Henry or money for their budgets.
Knox County, it's your move.
As Kris said "Powerful words." Plea-bargains are used far to often and are letting criminals get away with all sorts of crimes they should be spending time in prison for.
I too pray there is justice for Henry, and all the citizens of Knox county.
By extension justice will be served for your brother-in-law when the Knox county sheriff office and the DA gets off their butts to do the right thing.
Good luck and keep up the pressure, the citizens need to remain relentless in persuing the sheriff and DA office.
This works in NYC (Al Sharpton made a whole career out of it) when there is an injustice in the police department you never stop pressureing them and putting a puboic face to the injustice. If it can work in big city like NY it can work in your city.
Yes, just the same, only the exact opposite. The DA went full bore after McLean, prosecuting him for 1st degree murder. It was the jury that saw that it wasn't and ruled accordingly. Perhaps the news in Austin wasn't reported accurately?