Defendants accused in pregnant woman's death arraigned

Becky Campbell • Jul 31, 2018 at 9:09 PM

Four men accused of a murder plot that left a young pregnant mother dead last summer made their first appearance in a Washington County courtroom Tuesday.

Stacy Magee, also known by her adopted name of Rebekah Thompson, was 22 years old and seven weeks pregnant when she was shot at point-blank range while sitting in her car outside a Johnson City housing development residence on July 24, 2017.

Her 6-month-old daughter was in the back seat when a vehicle drove up, a black man got out of the passenger’s side, walked up to Magee’s car and fired a gun at her, then got back in the car and left, according to witnesses.

It took police 10 months to track down all four charged in the case.

Three of the four men charged in the killing were appointed attorneys to represent them and arraigned by Criminal Court Judge Stacy Street. The fourth man said he had hired an attorney, but the lawyer was in a trial and couldn’t be in court Tuesday.

Who’s Charged

  • Isiaha Devon Milligan, 24, of Johnson City — first-degree murder, first-degree murder in commission of a felony and two counts of solicitation of first-degree murder. His appointed attorney is Chris Byrd.
  • Avios Griffin, 24, of Johnson City — first-degree murder and first-degree murder in commission of a felony. He hired Russell Kloosterman to represent him.
  • Monte Brewer Jr., 27, of Cleveland, Tennessee — first-degree murder and first-degree murder in commission of a felony. He told Street his hired attorney is Chris Dixon of Chattanooga.
  • Eugene Glover, 31, of Chattanooga — first-degree murder and first-degree murder in commission of a felony. His court-appointed attorney is Patrick Denton.

All but Brewer were arraigned because his attorney was in a trial in another jurisdiction and couldn’t be in Jonesborough on Tuesday. The three who were arraigned pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

Kloosterman told the judge he will be filing a motion for a bond reduction and asked for a hearing on that issue. The men have been held on a $500,000 bond each since their arrests in May.

The Reported Crime

Magee, aka Thompson, was shot once at point-blank range around 9:30 p.m. on July 24, 2017, at 10:08 p.m. near John Exum Parkway as she sat in the driver’s seat of a white Honda while a friend visited someone in the Parkway Community. 

Thompson’s infant daughter was also sitting in the car, but she was not injured, police said. Immediately following her mother’s death, a caseworker with the Department of Children’s Services took custody of the baby until further decisions could be made.

A search warrant, filed the day after the shooting, described what led Johnson City police investigators to believe Milligan was involved in the slaying. In the warrant, Johnson City Police Investigator Matthew Gryder requested Washington County Criminal Court Judge Lisa Rice’s permission to search cellphones owned by Milligan and confiscated by police.

Gryder stated in the warrant affidavit that Milligan and Thompson were former lovers, and Thompson had told others that Milligan was the father of her unborn child. Investigators also received screen shots of messages, believed to be from a Facebook mobile application, that Thompson had forwarded to a friend, according to the search warrant.

“The messages concerned Thompson telling Milligan that she was pregnant with his child,” Gryder wrote. “Milligan denied that he was the father of the child and told her he would wait on a DNA test to confirm that he was the father of the child. Additionally, Milligan’s nickname, 50, was listed in the contact list of Thompson’s phone.”

When police interviewed Milligan, he allowed them to search his residence, and police found two cellphones belonging to Milligan, according to the warrant.

“Affiant (Gryder) believes there are communications with Thompson on the described telephones. These communications may be evidence related to Thompson’s murder,” the warrant states.

The warrant allowed police to search the two phones for call logs; contacts; text messages; multimedia messages; messages sent or received through applications, online services and social media platforms; photographs; videos; internet search histories; location data and location searches; and user accounts for apps and social media.

Street reset all four defendants’ case for Oct. 18.

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