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Mistrial declared in Rocky Houston's federal gun trial | News

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Mistrial declared in Rocky Houston's federal gun trial

(WBIR) A error in jury selection has forced a mistrial for a Roane County man facing federal gun possession charges.

After federal court closed early on Tuesday because of snow, Rocky Houston was back to face a jury Wednesday morning.

Twelve of the thirteen jurors made it in this morning, despite the icy road conditions. But one of those jurors was not supposed to be there, according to Houston's defense attorney.

What happened was a first for everyone in the courtroom. Apparently, Houston informed his attorney of an objection he had to a specific potential juror during the selection process. He wanted his attorney to strike that particular juror from the pool. However, Houston's attorney, Michael McGovern, told the judge he "inadvertently missed" raising the issue on Wednesday and the juror was seated and sworn in.

When the defense attorney informed the judge what happened in court Wednesday, the judge declared a mistrial. A new trial was set for March. Houston will remain in custody until then.

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Before Tuesday's snow shut down federal court in Knoxville, Rocky Houston saw 13 charges against him dismissed, and a jury selected to hear the only remaining charge.

Houston was charged with 14 counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. In federal court Tuesday, all but one of the firearm counts were dismissed.

A jury was selected to hear the case, then court was adjourned until 10 am on Friday.

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The federal trial for one of two Roane County brothers, with a long history of fighting law enforcement, is set to begin at Tuesday morning.

U.S. Marshalls arrested Rocky Houston on his family property last year for owning firearms while being a convicted felon. They also arrested his brother, Leon Houston, on the same day for using illegal drugs while in possession of guns. Rocky Houston has been charged with 14 counts of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. If convicted, he could face up to 140 years in prison.

This is not the brothers' first run in with the court system. For more than a decade, the duo has faced various criminal charges and subsequently file lawsuits against government officials that claim they're victims of persecution.

MORE: History of Houston brothers' trouble with the law

The brothers were tried but not convicted of murder after a deadly shootout on the family property, killing a Roane County deputy and his friend riding in the vehicle.

In November, a jury acquitted Leon Houston of using illegal drugs while possessing guns. But later that month, another jury found Leon Houston guilty of threatening his former attorney. Sentencing is set for March.


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