Twanna “Tart” Blair, who pleaded guilty and is serving a 10-year sentence on federal drug charges and who was alleged to have been involved in the 1999 Valentine’s Day triple-homicide, appeared in Bradley County Criminal Court Thursday to face new charges in the murder case.
The murders hinged on alleged “retaliation” over a fight which occurred in Sweetwater the night before. One person has been convicted in the murders.
Blair was arraigned on two charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, facilitation of aggravated robbery and three counts of facilitation of first-degree murder in the deaths of O.J. Blair, Cayci Higgins and Dawn Rogers, according to a new indictment.
Twanna Blair was shot during the incident that occurred in 1999, at an apartment located just off 20th Street in Cleveland.
Michael “Money” Younger was also re-indicted in March on two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit especially aggravated robbery, especially aggravated robbery, felony murder and one count of first-degree murder.
The original case against Younger was dropped in 2010 “without prejudice,” meaning the case could be re-indicted, according to reports.
Maurice Johnson was found guilty in the murders and is in the process of PCR (post-conviction relief) efforts.
According to prosecutor Richard Fisher, a June 17 date has been set for the PCR hearing. Johnson was sentenced to serve three life sentences in the murders.
June 10 is the date scheduled for a motion filed by Younger’s attorney to remove Fisher as prosecutor pro-tem.
Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood was appointed to oversee the proceedings in the cases.
Thursday, Blackwood heard an argument from Lee Davis, attorney for Twanna Blair, who represented her in her first trial. She had originally been charged with perjury and murder.
In the original trial, Judge Amy Reedy entered acquittal on felony murder charges and especially aggravated robbery. She declared a mistrial on the lesser included offenses of facilitation of those alleged crimes.
According to police investigators’ reports, Blair was uncooperative and provided inconsistent information during the course of the investigation.
Davis filed a motion to dismiss the new indictment, citing alleged double jeopardy.
According to Fisher, his answer to the motion indicated “none of the new counts were charges which had been dismissed during the original trial that was heard by Judge Amy Reedy.”
Reedy was recused from the cases involving Younger and Twanna Blair.
Blackwood was assigned to hear the cases regarding Blair and Younger and Special Judge Don Ash was assigned to the proceedings in the Johnson processes.
Blackwood is expected to make his ruling on Davis’ motion later.