Trial dates set for Grainger Co. pharmacy shooting suspect

(WBIR - Rutledge) The man charged with killing two people and wounding two others at a Bean Station pharmacy earlier this year was back in court Monday morning to set dates for several hearings leading up to his murder trial.

In Rutledge on Monday morning, the courtroom at the Grainger County Justice Center was packed as Jason Bryan Holt made an appearance to schedule the various deadlines for his murder trial scheduled for September 2014. Holt is charged with killing two people and wounding two others during a robbery at the Down Home Pharmacy on May 23, 2013.

Holt's trial is currently set for September 30, 2014. Between now and then, the judge scheduled status hearings for January 28, April 21, and June 16. The most significant deadline before the trial is May 16, 2014, when items such as notices, defense motions, mental health evaluations, and discovery are due along with a scheduled evidentiary hearing.

Investigators say on May 23, 2014, Holt entered the Down Home Pharmacy and demanded drugs. Although four people in the store complied with his demands to get down on the floor, prosecutors say Holt then proceeded to shoot all of them execution-style before leaving the store. Investigators say the shooting spree killed pharmacy owner Stephen Lovell and customer Richard Alexander Sommerfield. Two other pharmacy employees were also shot but survived.

District Attorney Jimmy Dunn said Monday there is still no doubt that he will seek the death penalty against Holt.

"In order to file a death penalty notice, there has to be aggravating factors that are listed in the statute," said Dunn. "In this particular case there's about four that fit."

Dunn said he spoke to the victims' families and let them know this type of murder trial is a long process.

"I can tell by their [the families'] expressions, they wish we could already do it, but it takes a long time," said Dunn.


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