"Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde" In Court

By: Stephen McLamb
By: Stephen McLamb

Kingston (WVLT) -- Tight security, an out of county jury for an in-county trial, and a diary titled "A Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde."

It was all part of a busy day in court for Jennifer and George Hyatte.

Both were in court separately.

It is two years to the day when Roane County deputies say the pair gunned down prison guard Wayne "Cotton" Morgan during an escape at the County courthouse.

Today the judge said this case mandates an out-of-county jury, even though it should be held in Roane County.

He also said a diary allegedly written by Jennifer Hyatte will be admissible in court.

The defense today had questions about George Hyatte's security in the courtroom.

The Sheriff says they said there were threats against Hyatte's life, but his new security plan covered that.

It was a tragic day two years ago when Wayne "Cotton" Morgan lost his life while transporting Hyatte, an inmate in his custody at the time.

Two years after the murder, George Hyatte was in court today.

His attorneys expressed security concerns for their client.

Sheriff Jack Stockton says he was informed there were threats against George Hyatte and that the attorneys felt there wasn't enough security in the courtroom.

"The judge brought it up about being safe on both parts, but I don't feel unsafe by being here at all, " said Dennis Morgan whose father was "Cotton" Morgan.

But the Sheriff says there was plenty of security, you just couldn't see all of them.

"Most of the officers in security were plain clothes officers in the courtroom," said Sheriff Jack Stockton

Stockton says security has been greatly improved starting at the front door.

"We have two screeners out front now at the main entrance to the courthouse and all the side doors and other entrances have been secured," the sheriff said.

He also says they've put officers through Homeland Security training, increased security during prisoner transports, and put someone in charge of courthouse security.

For now it's been two years since the shooting.

Morgan's son says they just wish the process were a little quicker.

"I think it's a little unfair but I know the justice system has to have their due but I just wish it would get a little further along than it is," he said.

The judge in the case said he was leaning toward bringing in a jury from another county to hear Jennifer Hyatte's case, but he has has not yet decided.

Her case is set for trial on November 5th and George Hyatte's is set for next March.


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