Defendants in two high-profile criminal cases were set for trials Tuesday, but the proceedings were scheduled months away in 2021.
Denver Christian Smith, 27, formerly of 800 John Exum Parkway, faces a first-degree murder charge after police said he fired a gun into a passing vehicle, killing the passenger, Tiaria Miller, 19, of Johnson City. The shooting happened Nov. 13, 2015. Smith’s case has taken so long to come to trial due to federal charges he had to settle before the state charges could move forward.
Smith was charged with felony murder, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. The charges stem from two shootings on Nov. 13: one outside Smith’s apartment and another at the intersection of West Market Street and John Exum near the former Apex restaurant.
In Washington County Criminal Court on Tuesday, Judge Lisa Rice set Smith’s trial for April 27-29. Jury selection will begin April 26 at 1:30 p.m.
In a second murder case, Randall Bradley, 58, of Johnson City, was slated for trial June 21-23. He’s charged with killing Otis Church, 72. Church was found dead inside his home on St. Louis Street on Oct. 31. One of his neighbors found him.
Police said Church had puncture wounds to his neck.
Investigators said they connected Bradley to the death after his fingerprints — which were on file because of a previous felony — were found on a plastic bag inside Church’s house.
Also, in a case that happened on the East Tennessee State University campus, David Creech, 32, of Johnson City, who is charged with aggravated rape, especially aggravated rape and exposure to Hepatitis B, will have a plea deadline and motion hearing on Nov. 20.
According to ETSU’s original news release, a student told ETSU’s Public Safety Department that she had been walking near the campus powerhouse around 4 a.m. when she was attacked by a man with a knife. The man ran toward West State of Franklin Road.
She described the attacker as white, about 5 feet, 7 inches tall, skinny and having blondish/brown shaggy hair. She also described him as having a pointy, big nose and a pointy chin. The man was wearing blue jeans, brown work boots and a dark color jacket.
Initially, another man who was found walking in the vicinity was charged with the crimes, but investigators later focused on Creech as the primary suspect.