Judge Dismisses All Charges Against Tawana Blair In 1999 Cleveland Triple Murder
A special judge has dismissed all charges against Tawana “Tart” Blair in the 1999 triple murder in Cleveland, Tn.
Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood, in a 13-page ruling, noted that a jury in 2009 had deadlocked on most of the charges facing Ms. Blair. Then she faced new charges four years later.
The state at one time was seeking the death penalty against her.
Judge Blackwood also removed former prosecutor Richard Fisher from the case and put Steve Crump in his place.
After the jury deadlock in 2009, Judge Amy Reedy proceeded to dismiss all counts of first-degree murder and second-degree murder (three of each) against Ms. Blair.
Ms. Blair had been shot herself in the Valentine’s Day triple slaying along with the three people who died – O.J. Blair, 18; Cayci Higgins, 19; and Dawn Rogers, 25.
The judge also acquitted Ms. Blair on especially aggravated robbery charges.
The only remaining charge had been facilitation of murder.
Her attorney, Lee Davis of Chattanooga, at the time said he believed that the state would be precluded from pursuing the remaining charge after the acquittals.
He said, “An acquittal on these charges is, in my opinion, a bar to later proceedings on facilitation. But, ultimately that will remain a decision that we will put to the court and Judge Reedy shall decide.”
He said, “Tawana has lived with this tragedy for more than a decade. On Feb. 14, 1999, she was shot and left for dead. In this senseless quadruple shooting, she lost her partner, Ms. Rogers, her best friend, O.J. Blair, and his girlfriend, Ms. Higgins. Tawana is relieved that Judge Reedy took the care to hear this case and she is deeply respectful for the time and care that this jury took in their deliberations.
“Tawana’s thoughts and prayers are first for the Rogers, Higgins and Blair families and the many relatives who attended the week-long trial.”
Maurice Johnson earlier was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life without parole.
Michael Younger went to trial, but a mistrial was declared based on prosecutorial misconduct.