The man accused of being high on bath salts during a deadly crash with a church van pleaded not guilty to unrelated burglary and weapons charges in federal court on Tuesday.
He also qualified for a court-appointed attorney.
Authorities say Tyler Schaeffer, 21, was driving an SUV that crashed head-on into a Cedar Grove Baptist Church van.
The wreck killed youth leader Jeff Trussell and 16-year-old Courteney
Kaliszewski. Ten others were injured. Schaeffer faces dozens of charges
in that case, including vehicular homicide by intoxication, vehicular
assault, DUI, and drug charges.
The widow and son of Trussell were present in the courtroom Tuesday, as were about a dozen other Cedar Grove Baptist Church members.
Schaeffer was arrested on burglary charges
as soon as he was released from the hospital after the crash. He's
being held in the Sevier County jail.
He waived his right to a hearing Tuesday that would have the judge determine if he would have to remain in jail pending the May 14 trial date for the burglary charges.
The charges accuse Scheffer of
taking part in six business robberies in the last three years. Several
are in the Seymour area, including Romantic Escapades, a Subway shop,
and a Dollar General store.
He's also being accused of robbing a Sevierville drug trafficker and threatening the trafficker with a gun, as well as possession of drugs with the intent to distribute.
On March 5, a federal grand jury returned a 14-count indictment
In that same indictment, Jerel Bray-Shawn Johnson, 20, of Knoxville,
was charged in the conspiracies to commit Hobbs Act robbery and to
distribute and possess with intent to distribute methylone, as well as
two counts of Hobbs Act robbery, and two counts of brandishing a firearm
during a robbery.
In addition, Rodney James Ruffin, 21, of Sevierville, was charged in
the same indictment with conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, one
count of Hobbs Act robbery, and one count of brandishing a firearm
during a robbery.