Former attorney will take possession of Houston family land in next 5 days

6:49 PM, Jan 4, 2011   |    comments
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Video: Former attorney buys Houston land in partial payment for leg

  • Rocky & Leon Houston arrested for contempt of court.
  • Jim Logan and Roane Co. Chief Deputy Tim Phillips at Houston foreclosure sale.
    

Brothers cleared in a double murder case protested the auction of part of their family farm to pay an attorney who defended one of them.

Rocky and Leon Houston showed up at the Roane County Courthouse about 5 minutes before an auction of their property began Tuesday morning.

They spoke loudly to media gathered there, claiming a contract with Leon's former defense attorney was invalid.

"This is an ongoing vast conspiracy to defraud our family out of our property!" Leon shouted.

Leon Houston and his brother, Rocky, were both charged, but not convicted, in the 2006 fatal shooting of Roane County Sheriff's Deputy Bill Jones and his ridealong friend Mike Brown.

Attorney Jim Logan represented Leon in two trials, one ending in a hung jury and the other an acquittal.

He has not been paid.

Instead, the Houston family established a deed of trust with family property. It is basically collateral to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees.

Tuesday, a foreclosure sale was held on that property.

Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton said he planned for the worst and hoped for the best.

Officers kept a close eye on the proceedings.

The property auction inspired no violence, but did trigger a lot of shouting.

Logan stood on the courthouse steps and listened to the legal description of the property being auctioned, as Leon and Rocky Houston shouted a few feet away.

"He has used the US Postal Service to secure mail fraud!" Rocky yelled.

The Houstons claim Logan's contract with Leon isn't valid because the judge in the case was not properly sworn in.

The brothers, their family, and law enforcement gathered by the steps.

Then the lone bid of $150,000 came from Jim Logan, the attorney who said Leon Houston owes him hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"The amount that I bid for the property does not satisfy the obligation."

He's disappointed nobody else bid, but not surprised.

"If you look around you can see why good people in this community are probably deterred by this kind of conduct," he said.

Logan purchased three tracts of about 95 acres.

Another tract, about 150 acres, contains the home of the brother's father Clyde Houston.

"The sale of that other tract is postponed and we will see if we can resolve the issue involving their father," Logan said.

The sale of that last piece of property is set for February 2nd if the Houstons and Logan cannot work out some sort of agreement.

Logan will take possession of the 95 acres in the next 5 days and plans to lease or sell it.

Rocky Houston said he will "defend our property" but Logan doesn't anticipate a problem.

"I think we'll have full cooperation with law enforcement. Law enforcement has done a good job in this case from day one," Logan said.

Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton said, "We're going to use the most extreme caution that we possibly can to make sure everyone's safe during that time when it comes."

The small crowd dispersed and Rocky and Leon Houston prepared to leave.

"There's fraud here. We fear for our life and leave it at that," Rocky said.

The brothers recently spent 48 hours in jail for an outburst in the courtroom, when they were fighting the land foreclosure.

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