Younger indicted again in slaying
by GREG KAYLOR Banner Staff Writer
Apr 09, 2014 | 2174 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
‘Tart’ Blair plea nets 10 years
Michael Younger
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An indictment has been handed down from a Bradley County grand jury in the 1999 triple slaying of three people.

Also, one of the former defendants will serve 10 years in federal custody after entering a plea in court Friday.

Michael Younger has been arrested and charged once again with the shooting deaths of O.J. Blair, Cayci Higgins and Dawn Rogers, who were killed inside their apartment off 20th Street north on Valentine’s Day 1999.

In 2010, Younger’s charges were dropped “without prejudice,” meaning, a grand jury could re-visit the case and issue a new indictment.

Younger was arrested last week in Knoxville and brought to Bradley County to face the new indictment.

The triple-homicide case against Younger was dismissed by the 10th Judicial District Attorney’s Office which filed paperwork to drop charges after assistant District Attorney General Paul Rush reportedly asked a question during trial regarding Younger and Maurice Johnson, the latter of whom was convicted earlier in the murders, and their alleged occupation as “drug dealers.”

Assistant District Attorney General Richard Fisher remains as the chief prosecutor in the case and at the time of the 2010 trial, Rush was aiding him.

The case overall has been clouded with controversy. The prosecuting detective was Duff Brumley, who lost his job at the Cleveland Police Department amid allegations of policy violations, according to reports.

Judge Amy Reedy was recused from the cases which involved Younger, Johnson and Twanna “Tart” Blair, O.J. Blair’s cousin, who was wounded but survived and was later charged.

Special Judge Don Ash, who took over the case from Reedy, recently granted Johnson new public defense counsel in his post-conviction phase to seek a new trial. Motions for a new trial are expected in June.

Johnson was convicted in August 2010 of all three murders, and sentenced to three life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Twanna Blair was indicted on perjury and murder charges as well, but her case ended in acquittal. She is in federal custody regarding alleged narcotics trafficking charges.

According to Capt. David Shoemaker, who referenced information from Detective Carl Maskew, who was in charge of the Twanna Blair narcotics case, she pleaded guilty Friday to the charges and was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

Blair faced 47 years to life if convicted by a jury, according to Maskew, who said she was involved in the sale and delivery of more than 500 grams of crack cocaine.

Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood of Knoxville oversaw an arraignment for Younger.

Blackwood asked if Younger had an attorney.

“I would like to have Ms. Kim Parton,” stated Younger.

Blackwood noted John Cavett and Parton had worked together on Younger’s defense, but Younger was insistent on preferring Parton to represent him in connection with the new charges placed against him.

Blackwood reportedly had information that Parton was caring for some sick family members and said he would attempt to find out if Parton would be available to represent Younger.

Younger is being held at the Bradley County Jail under no bond.

Blackwood told Younger that when his attorney is retained, bond will be discussed.

According to Fisher, the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies involved in the investigation have continued to review and investigate the murders. Fisher resubmitted the case to a grand jury, which came back with a new bill charging Younger with two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit especially aggravated robbery, especially aggravated robbery, felony murder and one count of first-degree murder in the deaths of O.J. Blair, Higgins and Rogers.