Demery sentencing delayed, lawyer withdraws

  By Abby Morris
  star staff
  amorris@starhq.com
  Sentencing has been postponed again for a man convicted in the March 2002 murder of a Unicoi County man whose body was found in the bed of a pick-up truck in the parking lot of a Johnson City church.
  The sentencing hearing was for Timothy Lee Demery, 27, who was convicted of second degree murder during a jury trial in April of this year in connection with the death of David Harmon. Demery, who was originally charged with first degree murder but was convicted of the lesser offense, now faces a sentence of 15-25 years.
  Sentencing was postponed on Monday after Assistant Public Defender Robert Oaks, who represented Demery during the trial, filed a motion to withdraw from the case and his motion was granted.
  Oaks' decision to withdraw came after Demery questioned the effectiveness of his counsel in statements made in a pre-sentencing report he had to fill out prior to being sentenced on the conviction.
  Demery last appeared in Carter County Criminal Court on July 1, at which time Judge Robert Cupp postponed the sentencing hearing and admonished Demery for the statements he made regarding Oaks.
  "Mr. Demery, I got the pre-sentencing hearing paperwork on you and I read with great interest the things you had to say about Mr. Oaks and the things that happened in this courtroom," Cupp stated at the hearing in July. "The foreman of that jury told me the only reason they did not convict you of first-degree murder is because they feel the (Carter County) Sheriff's Department did a stinky job in the investigation. They had no doubt you executed that man."
  According to Cupp, Demery complained about the effectiveness of Oak's counsel during the trial and the quality of his defense. "You shot a man between the eyes and you are walking out of here with a second-degree murder conviction and you want to complain about your lawyer?" Cupp asked Demery. "Defendants find something wrong with everyone but themselves. I'm going to allow Mr. Oaks to withdraw from your case for the sentencing if he so desires."
  In the pre-sentencing report -- which asks questions about things such as family life, drug and alcohol abuse and criminal background -- Demery stated that he asked Oaks to ask specific questions of witnesses during the trial and Oaks refused to do so. "There was a lot of questions that was important that he would not ask. All he would say is 'I know what I'm doing.' Well I say no he didn't know anything. I got second degree murder and I should not have..." Demery writes in a section of the report asking him to give his statement about the incident.
  While announcing his filing of the motion, Oaks said he thought it was the best course of action.
  Cupp reset the sentencing hearing for Demery on Sept. 3 and said that, by that time, the court will have appointed another attorney for him.