New Continuance Was Requested By
Both Sides; Date Is Now Jan. 14, 2013
BY KEN LITTLE
The trial date of Ethan A. Self, charged in March 2010 with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of his police officer father, has been continued again.
The trial is now set for Jan. 14, 2013.
Self's trial had been scheduled to begin on Sept. 17, after being continued from May.
It was continued last week by Third Judicial District Criminal Court Judge John F. Dugger Jr., with both the prosecution and the defense in agreement, defense lawyer John T. Milburn Rogers said Tuesday.
"It was a joint motion between the state and defendant to continue it," he said.
"The state had good reason, the defense had good reason, and the court re-set the matter for the 14th of January."
MOTION LISTS REASONS
A joint motion by prosecution and defense to continue the trial, filed Tuesday in Greene County Criminal Court, details reasons why the two sides asked for the continuance.
Rogers' health concerns prompted the May trial date to be continued to September. The documents filed Tuesday state that Rogers "has experienced health-related problems which have forced him to undergo treatment and recuperation."
Further details of Rogers' health condition were filed with the court and remain under seal.
Berkeley Bell, Third Judicial District attorney general, recused himself from the case last year.
Tony Clark, First Judicial District attorney general, was appointed in his place to prosecute.
The joint motion also states that Clark's office "has experienced problems related to a staffing shortage due to the resignation of one of the senior Assistant Attorney Generals and, therefore, reassignment of the Chief Assistant Attorney General to a new county."
Additionally, the motion states that another murder case is scheduled to begin this month in Washington County, one of the counties in the First Judicial District.
The Washington County murder trial "conflicts with (the Self) trial," the motion states.
"Therefore, because of these situations, the District Attorney General has expressed that his office needs additional time for preparation of this matter for trial," the motion states.
Clark said today that his office was ready for trial, but he acknowledged the various factors cited in the motion.
"We did mention to the judge we have another murder trial starting the week prior, and given everything, together with Mr. Rogers, ... we agreed to the continuance," Clark said.
Clark, a Greeneville native, said he understands the need for closure on the part of family members of Roger Self.
"We want to get this over for the family and, of course, for the law enforcement people involved," he said.
Self, now 20, remains free on $500,000 bond pending trial.
FREE ON BOND
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 his father's shooting death the day after Roger Self's body was found in the bedroom of their Love Street home.
Dugger approved a motion by Rogers earlier this year to select a jury in Hamblen County because of pretrial publicity the case has received.
The trial itself will be held in Greene County.
Other motions filed by Rogers last month seek additional discovery from the prosecution, including disclosure of a report by an expert medical witness retained by the state.
In his March motion to continue the trial date from May to September, Rogers said he was diagnosed on March 17 with a "subarachnoid hemorrhage" at Laughlin Memorial Hospital and subsequently transferred by Wings Air Rescue to the University of Tennessee Medical Center for treatment.
He underwent further testing, the motion said, and he was released on March 20 "with significant restrictions on his ability to practice law."
In a March 22 letter written by Dr. E. Brad Strange and included in the motion filing, Dr. Strange said a subarachnoid hemorrhage occurs "when there is bleeding into the space between the brain and the arachnoid membrane," which "may occur from a ruptured cerebral aneurysm or arteriovenus malfunction, but some result from unidentified causes."
After reviewing a CT scan of Rogers' brain from March 17, Dr. Strange wrote that the medical condition "is significant, and like any serious injury, will require several months to heal."