Nelson Soto Sr.
Curtis Scott Harper 2012 mugshot taken after hit-and-run charges.
(WBIR-Knoxville) Less than three months after a jury sentenced him to 30 years in prison, the UT grad convicted in the hit-and-run killing of a pregnant woman, her unborn child, and a good Samaritan is back in court.
In May, a jury convicted Curtis Harper for his role in the deaths of Nelson Soto, Sr., Chasity Thornell and Thornell's unborn daughter. Harper hit and killed the pregnant woman and the good Samaritan, after friend Sarah Tinder's car ran out of gas on Washington Pike. Harper then left the scene of the crime.
Harper appeared before a judge Tuesday and received a new attorney. Nashville lawyer Alex Little will now represent Harper through the lengthy appeals process. His family will pay the legal fees, though the judge declared Harper personally indigent.
According to the prosecution, Harper's former lawyers had already filed for a new trial and are expected to also file for a reduced sentence. A jury gave him thirty years, but Harper, who was twenty two at the time of the crime, will be eligible for parole in nine years.
Both victim's families, as well as Curtis Harper's parents, were in court Tuesday.
Thornell's mother, Stephanie, said she had hoped a 'guilty' verdict meant they could move on.
"I wish that he would just serve his time and let us have our peace and move on," said Stephanie. "I just had hoped that this was all over with."
Harper is scheduled to be back in court December 13th for a status update hearing.