The attempted murder trial for three people accused of running down a Washington County sheriff’s deputy more than a year ago while they were allegedly trying to evade arrest from a robbery is scheduled to begin with jury selection Monday.
Dalvin Stephens, 20; Reginald Dewayne Smith, 43; and Ashley Nicole McGraw, 19, all of Johnson City, 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 involving injuries.
The charges stem from a Jan. 2, 2012, incident that police say started with a robbery, led to a police pursuit and ended with Deputy Gary Daugherty being hit by the car driven by Stephens.
The trial was last scheduled to begin in January, but was delayed because the state thought it was missing a witness. It turned out that the man in question, Daniel Hylmon, was in custody at the Washington County Detention Center after he turned himself in on a violation of probation charge. the same day as the hearing to continue the trial.
Without that knowledge, Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood granted the state’s motion to continue the trial as well as a request from one defendant’s attorney for a lower bond.
Hylmon and another man, Eric McElyea, called 911 to report the alleged robbery and told police a black man — later identified as Smith — came to their residence on Sand Valley Road and asked to use the phone. When McElyea let Smith in, Smith pulled out a gun and demanded money and marijuana. He eventually left with neither, investigators said.
After sheriff’s deputies got a description of the vehicle Smith got into, an officer began a pursuit on Tenn. Highway 81 South. Daugherty was ahead of the pursuit and was attempting to throw out a stop strip. The strip got tangled and as Daugherty tried to straighten it, Stephens hit him. Prosecutors say Stephens veered toward Daugherty intentionally.
The officer is still out of work recovering from his injuries.
Only one defendant and his attorney attended the January hearing. Gene Scott, who represents Smith, “adamantly” opposed the delay and wanted the trial to go forward even without the state’s witness.
In lieu of the trial going forward in January, Scott asked the judge to reduce his client’s $170,000 bond. Scott wanted an “own recognizance” bond, but Blackwood wouldn’t do that, and instead he lowered the amount to $75,000. Scott has previously said his client is “penniless” and can’t make bond.
All three defendants remain jailed while the case is pending. Stephens has a $200,000 bond and McGraw has a $75,000 bond.