FIRST ON 3: Soddy Daisy murder suspect makes first court appearance
SODDY DAISY, TN. (WRCB) – A preliminary hearing was held in Soddy Daisy for a man accused of killing 24-year-old Casey Burgiss.
Our crew in the courtroom reports, the suspect, Keith Stewart, is standing with his court-appointed attorney, as lead Detective Mike Sneed testifies.
Sneed says in two interviews Stewart denied having anything to do with the murder of Casey Burgiss, but says Stewart led police to the body in October.
Sneed says police were led to a place called "The Devil's Pocket," just 600 yards from Stewart's home.
Police found weapons in Stewart's parents' home, where he lives. Sneed believes Stewart used his father's gun.
Sneed says he doesn't know if others were involved, but says two persons of interest are scheduled for interviews. He asks that he not reveal their names for the sake of the investigation.
Detective Waters has now taken the stand, who interviewed Stewart the day he led police to the body.
Waters says Stewart changed his story of how many people were involved, who they are, and where the shooting happened.
Waters says Stewart told him he was paid $240 to find a spot to kill Burgiss, and he chose "The Devil's Pocket."
Waters says Stewart and two others took $200 from Burgiss. Stewart chose not to take his part of the money after the murder.
Waters says he believes Stewart's story of robbery being the motive, because the victim's pockets were pulled out.
The defense is pointing out the number of tips police received and the number of persons of interest.
Waters says Stewart never admitted to killing Burgiss, only robbing him. He says Jason Doss and Lebron Lewis were interviewed, but not charged.
The defense has chosen not to call any witnesses.
The prosecution says it's clear that Stewart was involved, and is criminally responsible by luring Burgiss to the cave to rob him.
The defense says there is no proof Stewart was present during the murder and claims that is only an assumption. The defense says Stewart is not a murderer.
Judge Marty Lasley has sent the case to a grand jury, and leaves Stewart's bond at $750,000.
Stewart's attorney argues that's basically no bond because his client cannot pay it.
Stay with WRCBtv.com for continuing coverage of this story.