Hawkins grand jury indicts suspects in murders

Jeff Bobo • Apr 25, 2007 at 12:03 PM

ROGERSVILLE - The Hawkins County grand jury handed out indictments Monday on two murder cases and one attempted murder, each of which are scheduled for court dates in June.

Among the indictments handed down Monday was a second-degree murder charge against Janice Marie Johnson, 47, 1813 Duke St., Kingsport.

Johnson is accused in the shooting death of her boyfriend's son, Gary McCrary, 41, also of Kingsport, on Nov. 11 at a small hunting cabin on Gravely Valley Road in a remote area of Hawkins County near the Hancock County line.

Gary McCrary's father, Larry McCrary, an alleged witness to the shooting, bonded Johnson out of jail in December.

Johnson's case was bound over to the grand jury in December without testimony. Hawkins County Sheriff Roger Christian said Tuesday his department has a potential motive for the shooting, but he cannot release details at this time.

Reports at the time of the shooting indicated that alcohol was a factor. Johnson is scheduled to appear in Hawkins County Circuit Court for a bond review on June 18.

Also indicted Monday was Patricia A. Ledbetter, 43, 1063 Jessie Lane, Church Hill, on one count of first-degree murder stemming from the Aug. 27 shooting death of her husband, David Ledbetter, 41, at their home.

During Ledbetter's preliminary hearing in November, defense attorney Rick Spivey said prosecutors had only made a case for self-defense on the part of his client.

Patricia Ledbetter reportedly made a statement to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation that she had taken several pills that night and had fallen asleep on the couch watching TV. She said in the statement that moments before the shooting David Ledbetter came to her at the couch wanting sex, and then argued that Patricia Ledbetter's son had stolen some of his pills.

"We were struggling," Patricia Ledbetter's said in the statement. "He had a 9 millimeter in his hand. He said that I didn't love him. We were struggling over the gun. I think that is when the first shot went off. We were standing up. He fell straight down on the couch. He got up and had a knife in one hand and a .38 (caliber revolver) in the other. There was blood everywhere. I had blood on me too. We were struggling, and the gun went off."

Police said there were inconstancies between Patricia Ledbetter's statement and the physical evidence. Ledbetter is scheduled to appear in circuit court for a bond hearing on June 5.

Also indicted Monday was Thomas F. Howard, 61, 151 Willard Lawson Road, Rogersville, on one count of criminal attempt to commit second-degree murder. The charge stems from the Sept. 6 shooting of Roy Travis Jarvis, 26, 102 Presley Drive, Rogersville.

Hawkins County Sheriff's Office investigators said Howard, Jarvis and eyewitness Ashley Trent of Pressman's Road, Rogersville, had been drinking together the day of the shooting. Howard had apparently picked both men up earlier in the day and drove them to his home.

Trent reportedly told investigators that Howard retrieved a .22-caliber rifle and without provocation or explanation fired two shots into Jarvis' chest.

The grand jury also had the option of indicting Howard on a charge of criminal attempt to commit first-degree murder, a Class A felony; aggravated assault, a Class C felony; and criminal attempt to commit criminally negligent homicide, a Class A misdemeanor.

The charge of criminal attempt to commit second-degree murder is a Class B felony that carries a penalty up to 12 years in prison. Howard is scheduled to appear in circuit court June 26 for a bond review.

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