Attempted murder case changes judges

Becky Campbell • Jun 12, 2012 at 10:03 PM

An attempted murder case against three people accused of hitting a county deputy with their vehicle while fleeing from a robbery was moved to another judge’s docket Tuesday.

Judge Lynn Brown moved the case to Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood because the defendants want trial dates and Brown can’t work more than half a day right now.

Reginald Dewayne Smith, 41, 1419 Colony Park Drive, and Ashley Nicole McGraw, 18, 127 Forest Hills Drive, are charged with attempted first-degree murder and attempted aggravated robbery.

Smith faces additional charges of unlawful possession of a weapon and tampering with evidence. Stephens faces additional charges of reckless endangerment, evading arrest and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries.

Stephens was driving the car that hit Washington County Deputy Gary Daugherty on Jan. 1 and the officer attempted to throw out spike strips to stop the fleeing vehicle.

Officers were trying to stop the car because the three were suspected of a home invasion attempted robbery just prior to the pursuit.

Brown has medical issues related to blood clots in his leg that has forced him to cut back on his court schedule. Blackwood, a retired senior judge, has stepped in to take on many of Brown’s cases.

In moving the case to Blackwood’s docket, Brown quipped, “he’s giving the judiciary around here a bad reputation.”

Blackwood is known for his efficiency on the bench and does not dawdle with idle conversation during court. Brown has previously noted that Blackwood can get done in an hour what most judges get done in a day.

He will let Blackwood work out another issue one attorney raised about obtaining an accident reconstruction of the incident.

Casey Sears, who represents Stephens, said he wants to see the report and then ask the court to fund an expert if necessary.

Assistant District Attorney Janet Vest Hardin said she hasn’t been given a reconstruction report, but if there is one she will forward it to the defense.

Hardin also noted there are at least two videos of Daugherty being hit.

“This officer was mowed down as these three were fleeing from a felony,” she said.

One of the videos was recorded from Daugherty’s in-car camera and the other was recorded from Sgt. Lee Cross’ car. Cross also witnessed Daugherty getting hit because he was the first patrol car behind Stephens.

Cross testified at a preliminary hearing that he thought Daugherty was dying when he ran to check on him.

Daugherty attended the hearing, walking under his own power with no assistance.

He’s come a long way from Jan. 1, when family, friends and coworkers weren’t sure he would survive.

“I still have to have one more surgery,” he said before the hearing, referring to a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. His other injuries are healing and he’s still going to physical therapy to regain full range of motion in his legs and arms.

“I still can’t run,” he said, and his walking gait still shows a limp, but all in all Daugherty said he’s doing well.

Another issue Brown dealt with Tuesday was McGraw’s pregnancy. She is pregnant with Stephens’ son and four days past her due date.

Brown ordered McGraw be released on a furlough when she goes into labor and she is to return to jail when she’s released from the hospital.

The three remain jailed in lieu of bonds. Stephens has a $201,000 bond, Smith has a $170,000 bond and McGraw is being held on a $75,000 bond.

They are scheduled to appear before Blackwood on July 3.

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