Jury returns guilty verdict
By David Hedges, Publisher
Times Record-Roane County Reporter

It started out as a weekday afternoon party among friends.

It ended with a man dead, and another charged with his murder.

After a trial that lasted four days Daniel Kelly, 25, was convicted of unlawful wounding and will face 1-to-5 years in prison.

Kelly originally was charged with murder for the death of Jason Coon.

Police said Kelly, 25, struck Coon several times at a party at a Steele Hollow trailer park in the fall of 2004.

Coon, who was 25 at the time, died that afternoon, and Kelly was charged with murder.

Just before Kelly's trial was to start last week, special prosecutor Christopher Chiles asked that the charge be reduced to malicious wounding. Chiles said there was no evidence that Kelly had intended to kill Coon.

Attorney Dennis Curry, one of two appointed to defend Kelly, called Coon's death a tragedy.

"These two were friends," Curry told the jury.

Police said several people had been drinking alcohol at the residence of Heath "Bud" Crihfield.

Chiles said problems started after Kelly grabbed his girlfriend by the throat as she was holding the couple's baby and slammed her against the wall.

Kelly and Coon exchanged words outside the trailer, and Kelly ended up hitting Coon several times.

After the altercation Coon appeared to be unconscious and was carried inside the trailer.

About 45 minutes later, when someone noticed he was not breathing, an ambulance was called and Coon was taken to Roane General Hospital where he was pronounced dead...

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