UPDATE: Increased court security for murder case after earlier f - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Increased court security for murder case after earlier fight

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: The case against a local man accused of killing his niece was bound over to the grand jury Tuesday.

Judge Gary Starnes called it "particularly heinous" as he said there's clearly enough probable cause to keep the charges against Eric McCullough.

Police say McCullough stabbed his niece Tyecha to death at College Hill Courts in July. They say he also stabbed Antwon Lee who survived and testified against McCullough.

Tuesday's preliminary hearing was originally scheduled for last month but had to be delayed when Lee attacked McCullough in the courtroom.

Tuesday's hearing was noticeably tense as family from both sides sat and listened to graphic testimony. The judge ordered higher security by locking the courtroom door and having 10 armed court officers inside.

Lee testified he witnessed McCullough stab his niece Tyecha after saying "Dumb b--ch I hope you die." Lee said he performed CPR and applied pressure to her stab wound on her chest prior to the arrival of medics.

McCullough's attorney asked several witnesses if Tyecha was in a gang. One answered affirmatively, while others could not provide a definitive answer. McCullough's family testified that Tyecha had threatened to kill Eric.

Attorneys interviewed six witnesses and the lead investigator with CPD.

Inv. Victor Miller said McCullough confessed to the crime during his initial interview. He said McCullough stabbed Tyecha and "felt the knife go inside her" after she punched him in the forehead.

Miller also said the surveillance cameras did not clearly capture the murder but that Tyecha's last statement was caught on audio: "Please don't tell me I'm dying."

McCullough's bond remains $200,000. If he makes bond, he must wear a GPS monitor device.


PREVIOUS STORY: The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office is speaking about a fight in the courtroom Tuesday. 
Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond has requested a full and complete investigation and new charges could be filed. Our cameras were rolling when the witness set to testify in a murder case attacked the alleged killer.

Antwon Lee apparently lunged at 46-year-old Eric Mccullough who was in court answering to charges of criminal homicide and aggravated assault.  He's accused of stabbing and killing his niece last month.

McCullough allegedly stabbed Lee in the same attack, but he survived. He requested the sheriff's office to pursue additional charges against Lee for the incident. 


?PREVIOUS STORY:  A courtroom fight between a murder suspect and a witness during a preliminary hearing resulted in the Hamilton County jail being locked down for a short time Tuesday morning.

Eric McCullough, a suspect in a fatal stabbing from July, was attacked by witness Antwon Lee, who set to testify against him in the preliminary hearing before Judge Gary Starnes.

Lee was allegedly stabbed by McCullough. After Lee recovered from the stabbing, he was arrested and put in custody for violation of sex offender registry.

The hearing had just began and Lee was called to the bench to testify when he instead lunged at McCullough and hit in the head.

Deputies abruptly separated the two men and pointed stun guns at unruly crowd members who appeared to want to get involved in the altercation.

One man can be heard yelling a death threat from the crowd.

"The next time we have this hearing we need to figure out a way to keep these guys away from each other," Judge Gary Starnes told the attorney's at his bench.

According to the police affidavit, McCullough confessed to stabbing his niece Tyecha McCullough after she punched him. He said he had been arguing with her for a month after he moved out of her apartment.

McCullough's mother talked with Channel 3, saying emotions are running high and she was too fearful to even attend her granddaughter Tyecha's funeral.

"This, that happened in the courtroom today should never have happened," she said. "My son has been under protective custody ever since he's been here. So why would you have this man who is affiliated with this get to my son?"

The next court date is set for September 1.

Channel 3 has reached out to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department for a response to the altercation and how it handles these situations.

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PREVIOUS STORY: Chattanooga police have arrested 46 year-old Eric McCullough as a suspect in the double stabbing Wednesday night. 

Tyecha McCullough, 23, died later as a result of her injuries. Eric is her uncle and witnesses say he mentioned in the past weeks he would kill his niece.

Another victim, Antwon Lee, 25, was examined and treated at a nearby hospital for injuries described to be non-life-threatening. 

McCullough was also treated at the hospital for a self-inflicted stab wound to his thumb.

McCullough told police his niece punched him in the head and he then stabbed her in the chest area.

He's charged with criminal homicide and aggravated assault.

Chattanooga police ask anyone with information on this crime to call 423-698-2525.


PREVIOUS STORY: Chattanooga police are investigating a double stabbing that happened Wednesday night on 1400 Cypress Street Court.

It was reported around 10:30pm.

According to a release, police got to the scene and found a woman suffering from a life threatening stab wound. She was taken to a local hospital where she later died.

A second person sustained a minor laceration and was later transported to a local hospital.

Police say this is a domestic incident and the suspect is in custody

Investigators are working to figure out the facts surrounding the incident.

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