Son convicted of 1st degree murder for killing policeman father, sentenced to life

Becky Campbell • Aug 23, 2013 at 11:46 AM

ROGERSVILLE — A Greene County man who shot and killed his policeman father was found guilty of first-degree murder today in a Hawkins County courtroom, Assistant District Attorney General Dennis Brooks said.

Ethan Alexander Self, now 21, had just turned 18 when he admitted to killing his father, Roger, in March 2010 but claimed the shooting was accidental. Sgt. Roger Self was a Greeneville policeman. Ethan Self was a high school senior at the time of the slaying at the policeman’s home just outside the Greeneville city limits.

Ethan Self told investigators he had walked into his father’s bedroom to confront him about being abused by his father.

District Attorney General Tony Clark said the two-week trial was a victory, but at the same time a loss for the family.

“It’s been a long two weeks. It was really a hard-fought case,” Clark said, adding that Roger Self’s mother told him, “Now I’ve lost again.” Even though she wanted to see justice for Roger, her son, it was her grandson who paid, Clark said.

Clark’s office, the First Judicial District, handled the Greene County case, located in the Third Judicial District, because the District Attorney there, Berkley Bell, recused his office after Ethan Self was indicted.

“Berkley Bell’s district had several conflicts in this case for many reasons. Through Nashville, my office was appointed. Having lived in Greeneville for a while, I knew a lot of the officers and I knew several witness involved on both sides. We took this case on. It turned into a long, drawn-out case. There were well over 150 motions filed in this case,” he said.

“I really want to thank the Greeneville Sheriff’s Department, especially Det. Mike Fincher. He went to extraordinary lengths in this case,” Clark said.

Brooks said the defense team, attorneys John T. Milburn Rogers and Herb Moncier, “put on a litany of witnesses who knew Roger’s deceased wife. They told about times he was hateful and domineering toward his wife.”

He said psychologists who evaluated Ethan Self testified the young man told them that his mother took the abuse when she was alive, but after her death, his father re-directed it toward him.

“Multiple psychologists who interviewed Ethan believed his story, but there was never anything to corroborate it,” Brooks said.

“He admitted to firing his dads’s service Glock. He said his dad had been abusive toward him over many years. He said the last incident happened at 5:55 p.m. that day when his Dad got mad at him for not waking him up at 5:45. He said his dad slammed his head into a recliner, then went back to bed for 20 minutes. He said he went and got his dad’s Glock, went to confront him and the gun accidentally went off when his Dad snored,” Brooks said.

Ethan Self had been free on $500,000 bond but was taken into custody upon the conviction. He will serve life in prison.

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