Crimetracker: Appeals process has begun for Curtis Harper

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Curtis Harper is currently serving a 30 year prison sentence, but on Tuesday, he retained new lawyers and is planning to ask for a reduced sentence and a new trial.

Harper's new attorneys are Alex Little and Ed Yarbrough out of Nashville, who requested transcripts from Harper's trial so they can file a detailed motion as to why a new trial is needed. They requested the transcripts from Harper's sentencing hearing first because they also plan to ask for a reduced sentence, which must be done within 120 days of his original sentencing date in June.

In April, jurors convicted Harper of multiple charges relating to the hit-and-run deaths of Chasity Thornell, her unborn daughter and Nelson Soto, including vehicular homicide by intoxication and reckless endangerment. In June, a judge sentenced him to 30 years in prison. He'll be eligible for parole after nine years.

The Thornell and Soto families were both in the courtroom Tuesday. Thornell's mom doesn't think Harper should get a new trial or have his sentence reduced.

"I just had hoped that this was all over with and we were going to move on. I didn't expect to be back in the courtroom this quickly," said Stephanie Thornell.

The judge set a December 13th court date to see if Harper's new attorneys have received the trial transcripts and to discuss the motions for a new trial and reduced sentence.

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