Attorney Seeks New Trial For Convicted Murderer - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Attorney Seeks New Trial For Convicted Murderer

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by Marcus Washington

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - She was convicted of murder for stabbing and leaving her roommate to die. More than a year has passed, and the attorney for former Middle Tennessee State University student Shanterrica Madden is fighting for a new trial. 

It's been 18 months since Madden was convicted of stabbing MTSU basketball player Tina Stewart to death inside their off-campus Murfreesboro apartment.

On Wednesday, both families of Madden and Stewart relived those emotional days in court as defense attorney Joe Brandon fought for a new trial.

"We argue in this particular case that Miss Madden did not receive a fair trial," said defense attorney Joe Brandon in front of three judges in the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.

Brandon said there's an issue with the trial judge Don Ash's Facebook account -- in particular his list of friends. 

"Again there are 205 connections with the trial judge and Middle Tennessee State University and [its] athletic program," argued Brandon.

Madden's attorney went on to say how jurors were allowed to ask questions during the trial and that was unconstitutional.

"Where you've got jurors passing questions during the middle of testimony, it's not during the middle of a lawyer talking, it's during the middle of a trial, so how much do you think anyone is paying attention?" he asked.

"There is nothing in any of the procedure that went wrong that the trial court abused in this case," Appellate for the state Assistant Attorney General Criminal Justice Division, Michelle L. Consiglio-Young said.

Consiglio-Young agreed Judge Ash was Facebook friends with MTSU ladies basketball coach and many others in the community, but that played no role in his judgment.

"It's almost equivalent of maybe you know someone in the community and you see them out at lunch and you acknowledge them, maybe," she said.

Because the issue was presented before the trial, Consiglio-Young said Judge Ash defriended many of those Facebook friends.

As for the questions asked by jurors, she said only three of the seven were read aloud in court.

"Showing that the court really did go through and meticulously follow the procedure, decide whether or not the questions were valid and proceed appropriately," said Consiglio-Young.

The three judges will review the case and make a decision on a potential new trial, while Madden will remain in prison.

The ruling is not a short process; it could take one year or longer before the findings are revealed.


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