New Attorney for the Sullivan County Murderer

New Attorney for the Sullivan County Murderer

in News Last updated Mar 17, 2018

When the news of the killing of the young couple Robert Aaron “Rac” Vaughn, 25, and Kyanna Howes Vaughn, 23, reached the public, residents in Washington County were shocked. This young couple was expecting their first child together. Kyanna was seven months pregnant when she died. Based on the evidence at the scene, the Washington County sheriff narrowed the suspects down to Derrick Benjamin Sells, 33, a Sullivan County resident. The sheriff deputies from both Washington County and Sullivan County arrested Sells following a thorough surveillance. He was arrested on an outstanding violation of probation warrant. During the arrest, the deputy sheriff found a loaded gun in his vehicle, as well as some clothing that would later be identified as belonging to the deceased, Robert Vaughn. 

A Washington County Grand Jury has charged Sells with three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated robbery and two counts of child neglect. A couple days before his first hearing, Sells injured himself in his cell. The assistant public defender, Bill Francisco, who represents Sells, filed a motion for a gag order and for his client to be able to wear street clothes to his hearings. Judge Lisa Rice, who oversees the case, granted both motions. 

At the hearing last Monday, Francisco decided to withdraw from the case. After following through the case details as given by the state prosecutors, Francisco found some names related to the case that had previous connections to his office and would have caused a conflict of interest. Unfortunately, he did not clarify what the conflict of interest could be, nor mention any names. Therefore, Rice appointed Steve Finney, an attorney from Johnson City, to represent Sells. The new defense still has not released any statement regarding the case. Sells is still in jail on a $1 million bond. His next court date is scheduled for April 16. 


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