Bryan Keith Good, 35.
BLOUNTVILLE — A Gray man convicted of criminally negligent homicide in July 2008 is set for a parole hearing next week.
Bryan Keith Good, 35, was originally sentenced in October 2008 to 27 years — 15 for criminally negligent homicide and six apiece on consecutive charges of attempted aggravated robbery and being a convicted felon in possession of a deadly weapon. The convictions stem from the Aug. 13, 2005, shotgun killing of Michael Brandon Mottern, 26, during an attempted aggravated robbery perpetrated by Good and co-defendant Greg Jeffrey Nutter at a Piney Flats residence.
An appeals court in Sept. 23, 2010, effectively reduced Good’s sentence to 21 years after ruling that Good’s two lesser convictions violated double jeopardy protections. The two counts were subsequently merged, reducing Good’s sentence by six years. Good was sentenced as a range three offender, which means he is eligible for parole consideration after service of 45 percent of his sentence.
Service of 45 percent of 21 years would be about nine and a half years, so it was not immediately clear whether the Tennessee Department of Corrections is also giving Good credit for time served in the county jail before or good behavior in prison.
Two TDOC spokeswomen who had previously confirmed that Good is set for a Jan. 17 parole hearing did not immediately respond to follow-up phone calls or e-mails inquiring about the structure of Good’s sentence on Thursday. Sullivan County Assistant District Attorney William Harper, who assisted in prosecuting Good, said he was aware of the hearing but had no insight regarding the TDOC’s handling of his sentence.
Nutter, who was also charged in connection with Mottern’s death, testified against Good in exchange for an 18-year prison sentence. Both men accused the other of gunning down Mottern while the pair tried to break into the home of Anthony “Al” Branche and Laura Carrier at 932 Allison Road in August 2005.
Carrier’s testimony was entered during the trial in the form of a written statement due to her death in an unrelated incident. Branche had previously pleaded guilty in her death to second-degree murder and other charges stemming from what was described as an accidental Russian roulette shooting at an apartment they shared on Carter Sells Road. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
On the night of Mottern’s death, Carrier said their dog began barking and acting strangely just before midnight. They shut the front and back doors and turned on all the lights, and then Branche spotted someone in the yard. About 4 a.m. Branche saw someone again, so Carrier said she called her cousin, and Branche called his brother, Josh Branche.
Josh Branche testified that he was at Mottern’s home in Johnson City when his brother called. Mottern drove him over to his brother’s home, and he rushed inside to check on his brother while Mottern chased two people on foot into a field behind the house.
When he heard a truck start up, Josh Branche said he jumped in Mottern’s car, and his brother hopped in the passenger seat, and they chased after the truck they saw driving out of the field.
Josh Branche said he followed the truck long enough to identify it as one he “knew like it was his own” and then turned back toward his brother’s home. When he arrived, no one knew where Mottern was, he said. When he discovered Mottern lying motionless in the field, he called 911.
Nutter testified that he was running from a man he didn’t know, later identified as Mottern, when Good turned and fired a shotgun. Nutter said he later fired the gun himself in the direction of the car that was pursuing them after Good said they were being shot at while they were fleeing the scene in Good’s truck.
Roberta Corder testified she was working at the Sittin’ Bull restaurant about 5 a.m. when Good, whom she’d known for several years, came in and ordered breakfast. He was wearing a pair of overalls wet up to almost the knees, she testified, and told her he’d been chasing cows with an uncle he didn’t name. She said his demeanor didn’t give her any indication that he’d been involved in a shooting.
Originally charged with felony first-degree murder, Good’s conviction on the lesser homicide charge was a disappointment to Mottern’s family. After the trial, his mother, Robin Chasteen, said of the jury’s decision, “We had to rely on them to come back with this verdict, and it’s not right. My son, it makes us now feel like his life meant nothing. He murdered my son, he went and had breakfast that morning. He went about his life never thinking anything of it and — go ahead and give him a few years, let him get out, and hope that he doesn’t get one of your children or grandchildren.”
In a recent e-mail to the Times-News, Chasteen wrote, “Is anyone out there as outraged as I am? I am Brandon’s mother. No one can know the hell I have been through since the day Brandon died, August 13, 2005.”
She said of Good’s upcoming parole hearing, “He shot my son in the chest and left him to die in a wet field and he has the opportunity to request to be released after only six years....”
Chasteen concluded: “No wonder people often do not rely on the system to do the right thing and take matters into their own hands. It makes me sick.”
At bond hearings prior to Good’s sentencing, Judge Phyllis Miller had put Good in the range two offender category. That would have meant much less prison time. Factors that led Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood to declare Good a range three offender at his sentencing included a criminal history that included five felonies and between 13 to 16 misdemeanors.