Continuance Denied

Tuesday, January 14, 2098

Jury Selection in the trial for the six Kentucky youths charged with the April 1997 shooting deaths of three members of a Knoxville family will begin as scheduled, following a judges ruling Tuesday.


Judge James Beckner announced his decision after the prosecution in the Lillelid Murder case presented copies of DNA and gun residue tests to defense attorneys. Council for the 6 had filed continuance motions in the case last week because the reports on the tests conducted at the TBI Lab had not been issued. Defense attorneys had argued a delay might be needed in order for their expert witnesses to study the test results.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin February 17th in a still unannounced location. Also on Tuesday, the judge denied defense motions that identification of some of the suspects at the I-81 rest stop on the evening of the murders not be allowed. Cara and Ross Sinclair, testified Tuesday about seeing five of the suspects at the I-81 rest stop near Baileyton at the same time the Lillilids were there. The Sinclairs had stopped at the rest area after attending the Jehovah's Witness conference in Johnson City which the Lillilids also attended.

The defense had questioned how the two arrived at the identifications of suspects Natasha Cornett, Crystal Sturgill, Dean Mullins, Karen Howell and Joseph Risner. Those five were identified by either or both of the witnesses. But while both testified they saw a group of 6 to 8 young persons together at the rest stop, neither gave a positive I.D. of the youngest suspect, Jason Blake Bryant. Another hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday.