BY KEN LITTLE
Ethan A. Self's Greene County Criminal Court trial has been continued for a third time.
This time, it was the prosecution that filed a motion for a continuance.
The request by special prosecutor Tony Clark, First Judicial District attorney general, was granted Friday by Criminal Court Judge John F. Dugger Jr.
Self, now 20, is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the 2010 shooting death of his police officer father.
His trial is now likely to begin in May, the next time after January that Judge Dugger will hear Criminal Court cases in Greene County.
The reason for the continuance, according to Attorney General Clark, is that a vital state witness from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will be on maternity leave on Jan. 14, when Self's trial was scheduled to begin.
Special Agent Celeste White "is a necessary and material witness for the state," Clark wrote in an affidavit filed Friday.
White's delivery date is Dec. 30. She was informed by the Tennessee Department of Human Resources "that while she is on leave under the Family Medical Leave Act she cannot work or travel for work in any capacity or [she will] lose all benefits related to the Family Medical Leave Act," the affidavit states.
Berkeley Bell, Third Judicial District attorney general, recused himself from the case last year. Clark was appointed in his place to prosecute.
Roger Self, 46, a Greeneville Police Department dispatch sergeant, died of a gunshot wound to the head on March 24, 2010.
Ethan Self was charged in connection with the shooting the day after his father's body was found in the bedroom of their Love Street home. He is currently free on $500,000 bond.
The trial was continued twice earlier this year.
It was originally scheduled for May, but was reset until September in light of health concerns on the part of lead defense attorney John T. Milburn Rogers.
Rogers said Friday he has rebounded from those health problems.
The trial was reset from September to January after a joint motion by both defense and prosecutions.
Now, however, Rogers and other defense lawyers representing Self "are ready to try the case," he said Friday.
"I'm in great health, and I'm ready to go," Rogers stated. "I'm completely recovered from the problems I had in the past,"
MANY POTENTIAL WITNESSES
The state has up to 100 potential witnesses who could testify at Self's trial, which is expected to last about two weeks.
White, who led the TBI Forensic Crime Investigative Team that investigated the scene, will be available to testify in the case after March 1.
She "is crucial to the state's case ... at trial," the affidavit states.
White "made observations" concerning times set on alarm clocks in Self's bedroom.
"At the time of the discovery of Mr. Self's body, other witnesses will establish that alarm(s) were sounding in the bedroom. [White] is the sole person known to the state who memorialized the alarm times set on the clocks," the affidavit states.
The information "is crucial in establishing the time line of events surrounding Mr. Self's death," the affidavit states.
Judge Dugger also continued a motion hearing in the case scheduled for Friday. Rogers has filed more than 100 motions seeking discovery from the prosecution.
Dugger approved a motion by Rogers earlier this year to pick a jury in Hamblen County because of pretrial publicity the case has received in Greene County.
The trial will be held in Greene County with the Hamblen County jurors.