Michael Young, 47, of Johnson City, who faces a first-degree murder charge for the Feb. 13, 2016, shooting death of Jose Mijares, appeared Monday before Washington County Criminal Court Judge Lisa Rice for a status hearing to determine if the case was in position to go forward with the Jan. 8-12 trial.
Defense attorneys — Rick Spivey and his son Matthew Spivey — and state prosecutors — Assistant District Attorneys Erin McArdle and Robin Ray — agreed to delay the trial because there were still test results not back from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation crime lab and the defense had not had time to adequately review a new video turned over to them.
The new video resulted because Rice ordered prosecutors to re-interview the victim’s son and wife and video and audio record it. The initial interview of the boy at the Johnson City Police Department started in an interrogation room where video and audio equipment was used, but he was only in that room with Capt. Steve Sherfey a few minutes, according to testimony Sherfey has given about the case.
Several other people showed up to participate in the meeting — including the boy’s mother and a family friend who acted as an interpreter — so it was moved to a conference room at the police department. No video or audio equipment monitors that room, so the interviews were not taped. The brief video from the interrogation room where the interview started was not saved.
The defense had filed a motion regarding missing evidence earlier this year, but Rice ruled that because the boy was available to testify, it was an irrelevant issue. However, she did instruct the state to interview the boy and his mother and turn that over to the defense. That video provides more details about what the boy remembered about the shooting as well as what he remembered about talking to Sherfey at the police station.
Mijares was killed after a traffic encounter with Young that started on Lambeth Court near their homes and ended at the intersection of North Roan Street. According to police, Young cut Mijares off in traffic on Lambeth, and when they got to the stop sign, Mijares got out and approached Young’s vehicle to talk about the incident.
Mijares and his son, Jesus Mijares, 14 years old at the time, had just left their residence and were headed to a nearby Roadrunner for coffee when Young drove up behind them, then around them and cut in front of Mijares’ vehicle. Jesus Mijares testified at a preliminary hearing in March that his father got out of the vehicle and approached the car ahead of them after they stopped at the stop sign on Lambeth Drive.
“He was going to talk to the dude … (ask) why he cut in front of us,” the teen told police on the day his father was shot. Mijares said he didn’t hear his father say anything, but saw the man in the green truck shoot his father.
“He tried to get back in the car but he fell,” the teenager testified. “I got out of the truck and went to go check on him. I opened his jacket and there was a blood stain.”
Young’s next court date is a motion hearing on Jan. 9. His trial is now scheduled for July 16-20. Jurly selection will take place the July 13, the Friday before the trial begins. Young is free on a $100,000 bond while his case is pending.