ONLY, Tenn. (WATE) – Shawn Smoot, representing himself, filed a motion for a new trial.
On August 4, Smoot was given life without the possibility of parole after he was convicted for the murder of his ex-girlfriend. The decision was made after five years of investigation and legal wrangling and 22 delays in the trial, mostly from Smoot requesting to have new attorneys on his case.
In a handwritten note, Smoot asked the court to set aside the jury’s verdict of guilty because of “insufficient evidence.” Smoot says there is no evidence that he used a deadly weapon, which he says is “an essential element of the case.”
“Taking the witnesses statement(s) on their face, the jury could not have determined beyond a reasonable doubt that the weapon owned by the defendant afflicted death or even serious injury when it was never identified by any witness as the weapon used in committing the offense,” writes Smoot. “No testimony was ever given regarding the defendant’s use of any weapon at any time, specifically October 15, 2011, in fact, testimony regarding the possibility of the defendant using a weapon was given to the contrary.”
During the trial, Smoot’s defense attorney, Bob Jolley, told jurors there was no evidence Smoot was in Roane County the night Brooke Morris was murdered. “There are no fingerprints. There is no gunshot residue on his hands. There is no DNA test. There’s absolutely no evidence,” said Jolley.
Smoot is also claiming there was “prejudicial error” when the court denied his motion of suppressing all hearsay evidence. He claims the statements do not fall under any of the Tennessee rules of evidence hearsay exceptions.
“Testimony given by witnesses were purely testimonial in nature and did not in any way display an excited utterance by the victim, much less anyone else,” writes Smoot in the motion.
During the trial, a detective who searched Smoot’s home after the murder testified he found a box of ammo that was consistent with the caliber discovered at the crime scene. In cross-examination, the defense asked if the detective knew for sure it was Smoot’s ammo. Smoot’s ex-wife and friends of Morris were also called as witnesses.
Morris’s landlord also took the stand saying she was told there was screaming coming from Morris’s apartment so she went to the apartment and found Morris. She said Morris told her Smoot had broken into the apartment and beat her and tried to rape her.