Russell Brown’s trial to open on Tuesday
by GREG KAYLOR, Banner Staff Writer
May 16, 2013 | 1740 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Officials with the Bradley County Criminal Court said trial is set to begin Tuesday for a man accused of a murdering his longtime friend.

The murder was reportedly committed in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 2012.

Trial had been delayed recently due to a mental evaluation not being completed.

Russell Brown is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Harold Lee Montgomery, 39. Brown was 35 at the time of the incident.

According to court officials, the state didn’t have adequate time to complete a mental evaluation and the trial was delayed in March.

Assistant District Attorney General Stephen Hatchett said the trial is set to begin next week after jury selection is made.

Montgomery was reportedly stabbed to death at the Days Inn, located on Georgetown Road.

Brown was established as a suspect in the case after Cleveland Police Department investigators learned the two men had rented a room at the motel.

According to the investigation, Brown reportedly set the room on fire and fled the scene.

Preliminary autopsy results indicated Montgomery died of multiple stab wounds and not smoke inhalation. Montgomery’s body was found in the burning motel room New Year’s Day just after 7 a.m.

Brown and Montgomery had reportedly celebrated New Year’s at Brown’s apartment the night before, leaving to get alcohol and drugs, then going to the motel room.

The two men were also celebrating Brown’s birthday, which was New Year’s Eve, according to investigator’s reports.

The Cleveland Fire Department was notified of a fire around 7 a.m. at the motel and when firefighters arrived, they dragged Montgomery out of the burning room and discovered he was already dead.

After learning Brown could be a possible suspect in the death, detectives released information about his identifying characteristics and about the car he was apparently driving.

Montgomery’s 1995 Volkswagen Cabriolet was missing from the motel parking lot, according to early reports. Brown was named a “person of interest” in the homicide.

Detectives learned the men had known each other since childhood and met on occasion for sexual relations, according to reports.

Richard Hughes of the Public Defender’s Office is the defending attorney in chief.

Hatchett will be prosecuting the case for the state of Tennessee.