BY KEN LITTLE
The Greene County Criminal Court trial of a third defendant charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of Jimmy Lee Cutshall in October 2009 has been continued to Jan. 22, 2013.
The trial had been scheduled to start on Monday, Sept. 10.
Chad Eric Rader, 37, is the acknowledged driver who transported co-defendants Shawn A. Jones and Jessica M. Myers to an area near Cutshall's Old Wilson Hill Road mobile home, and picked up the pair after Cutshall was shot to death and his wife, Rhonda, was shot in the head as she slept in a bed inside the trailer.
Jones and Myers were both convicted of first-degree murder earlier this year following jury trials in Greene County Criminal Court.
They are currently serving 51-year minimum prison terms, effectively life sentences.
Rader's lawyer, William H. Bell, filed a motion last week seeking to have Rader's trial continued.
Judge John Dugger Jr. signed an order granting the continuance.
Cecil Mills, the assistant attorney general who is prosecuting the case, also signed the order, but said prosecutors were ready to proceed.
"We felt like we were prepared to try the case," Mills said earlier this week.
REASONS FOR CONTINUANCE
Bell cites two reasons for the continuance in the motion.
"Due to the long and lengthy negotiations, counsel for the defendant was under the impression that the case was going to settle and is not prepared for trial," the court document states.
Additionally, "new psychological evidence" about Rader has been obtained, the document states.
In another motion filed Sept. 5, Bell requests a change of venue in the case.
That motion states that the case "has received an enormous amount of publicity, causing undue excitement against the defendant in the county and making it appear that a fair trial could not be obtained for [Rader]."
Similar changes of venue were requested by lawyers for Jones and Myers, and granted, in part, by Judge Dugger.
In both cases, juries were drawn from a pool of Hamblen County residents, but the trials were held in Greeneville.
Additional motions related to the case that were filed by Bell this month seek to suppress certain evidence, including statements that Rader gave to investigators after his arrest.
Bell also seeks to suppress the results of a search of the Haney Park property where Rader lived that turned up a .22 caliber rifle hidden in a tree. The rifle was identified as the gun used to shoot Cutshall and his wife.
The motions will be heard Tuesday by Judge Dugger.
At their trials, both Jones and Myers denied pulling the trigger on the gun that killed Cutshall and caused permanent injuries to his wife.
Neither Jones nor Myers admitted to having a leadership role when the pair burst into the Cutshalls' mobile home looking for pills and cash.
Jimmy Cutshall, 54, died in a hail of bullets from a .22 caliber rifle. Rhonda Cutshall, then 43, was shot once in the head as she slept in a rear bedroom. She almost died, and suffered permanent vision and hearing injuries.
None of the evidence or earlier trial testimony placed Rader inside the trailer.
According to his 2010 indictment, Rader drove Jones and Myers to a field near the Cutshalls' trailer in Jones' Jeep, then waited outside and picked them up.
Rader remains in custody in the Greene County Detention Center.