Michael Younger, one of three people indicted for his alleged involvement in the 1999 Cleveland homicides known as the “Valentine’s Day Massacre,” was back in the courtroom Tuesday.
It was the first opportunity a special judge had to hear motions filed to dismiss murder and related charges in the killings of O.J. Blair, Cayci Higgins and Dawn Rogers, whose bodies were discovered Feb. 14, 1999, in an apartment located inside the city on 20th Street N.E.
In 2010, Younger was released from custody due to a mistrial: However, in April, Younger was arrested in Knoxville and extradited to Bradley County, where he faced re-indictment of charges former prosecuting attorney Richard Fisher had resubmitted.
Maurice Johnson was convicted of the murders and is currently proceeding with post conviction relief actions.
Charges against Younger include 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.
A motion to dismiss these charges was filed by defense attorney Susan Shipley of Knoxville in late June, and heard Tuesday by Special Judge Jon K. Blackwood.
Blackwood, as described by 10th Judicial District Attorney General Steve Crump, is, “a thoughtful and careful judge.”
As of June 2014, prosecution was appointed to Crump.
Subpoenaed by the defense were Fisher, and Steve Bebb, former 10th District Attorney General; however, neither ever reached the stand.
When asked for thoughts on this odd play, Crump stated, “I don’t have any idea why they weren’t used — or subpoenaed in the first place.”
Currently, Younger is being held in the Bradley County Jail with no bond.
Shipley also argued this, making a motion to Blackwood to have one set.
Blackwood heard arguments from both Crump and Shipley, and took the motions under advisement. He will hold the matter until an opinion is written or an order is issued.
A specific timetable for Blackwood’s judgment has not been made.