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Scarbrough wins retrial
Alleged Village Green killer’s conviction overturned


A convicted murderer, David L. Scarbrough, will remain in Knox County Jail for now, his attorney said Friday, even though a Knox County Criminal Court judge has set a $750,000 bond for his release.

Leslie M. Jeffress, Scarbrough’s court-appointed attorney, said his client is indigent and has no money to post the appearance bond that would secure his release pending a new murder trial, set for June 26.

Scarbrough, 29, is one of two men convicted of felony murder in 1998 at a jury trial stemming from the Feb. 3, 1995 slayings of Lester and Carol Dotts in their Farragut home.

Knox County Asst. Attorney General Bill Crabtree argued that Scarbrough and a friend, Thomas Paul Gagne Jr., were burglarizing the Dotts home on Russfield Road when Dotts, 69, and his wife, 67, returned from dining at a restaurant.

As Scarbrough’s co-defendant, Gagne pleaded guilty to the murder charge.

Crabtree asked Knox County Criminal Court Judge Ray L. Jenkins to set bond for Scarbrough nearer $1 million.

Jeffress asked that “reasonable bond” be set for Scarbrough, perhaps $200,000 or less.

Special Counsel John Gill of the Attorney General’s office said Friday that Scarbrough has served about seven years of a life sentence for the burglary in conjunction with the murder case. Gagne also remains imprisoned for the murders.

Gill declined comment on what aspects of the state’s case against Scarbrough might change in a June trial. Gill called it “an unusual situation” since the Tennessee Supreme Court had upheld a Criminal Appeals Court decision that upheld Scarbrough’s burglary conviction but ordered a retrial on the murder charges.

Gill said the District Attorney’s office had been quick, after Friday’s bond hearing, to notify Jeanne Brykalski, the Dottses’ daughter, of the judge’s decision in setting bond.

Brykalski, a spokesperson for the East Tennessee Victims Rights Task Force, said she would have little comment on prospects for a retrial. She said she did not wish to say anything that might jeopardize the case.

“But our family was glad to see Judge Jenkins set a good, high bond,” Brykalski said. “We were hoping Scarbrough would remain in jail. We agree that he poses a flight risk and a danger to the community.”

The Appeals Court found that Jenkins, as trial judge, should have told jurors they might convict Scarbrough on a lesser-included offense such as facilitating a felony murder. Felony murder charges may be filed when a murder is committed during the course of another crime such as burglary.

Scarbrough in 1998 at first confessed his part in the crime to Knox County deputies who investigated, but he later recanted that confession, however, and said Gagne had fired the fatal shots from a 9mm handgun.

Scarbrough, 18 at the time of the murders, contended he had not entered the Dottses’ house, but had been posted outside during the burglary as a lookout.

 

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