The Tennessee Supreme Court has again denied an attempt to appeal the homicide conviction of Lee Harold Cromwell, who was found guilty of killing a Knoxville man in a fatal crash in a crowded parking lot after fireworks in Oak Ridge in 2015.
The most recent denial of the appeal petition was filed by the Tennessee Supreme Court in Knoxville on May 13.
Cromwell had first petitioned to appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court in August. In a one-sentence order in November, the court denied the application.
In a one-page motion filed May 6, Cromwell, who represented himself and called himself a “natural man,” asked the Tennessee Supreme Court to revisit the appeal application that was previously denied.
Cromwell, who labeled the State of Tennessee a “fiction,” cited 184 points that he said were mailed in a brief with his appeal application. His previous defense attorneys, Jim Scott and Tom Marshall, chose not to introduce that material, but the 184 points could have led to a different outcome if they had been filed with the appeal brief, Cromwell said.
The Tennessee Supreme Court responded a week later, on May 13. Its five-sentence order said Cromwell’s motion, which appeared to be a petition for rehearing, was untimely and did not show any grounds for relief. The motion was denied, the Supreme Court said.
Cromwell’s appeal application in August was filed one month after the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals in Knoxville said he was eligible for a new trial on eight aggravated assault charges. Those aggravated assault convictions had added seven years to Cromwell’s five-year sentence for his one conviction of reckless vehicular homicide. Cromwell had been convicted in Anderson County Criminal Court at the end of a three-day trial in February 2017.
So far, no new trial has been ordered in Anderson County, and it hasn’t been clear if one will be. Cromwell already has an effective 30-year prison sentence from his five-year sentence on the vehicular homicide conviction in Anderson County and a 25-year sentence on forgery and fraudulent liens convictions in Davidson County.
The crash more than three years ago killed James Robinson, 37, a Knoxville husband and father who died pushing one of his two young daughters to safety, and it injured at least eight others. It occurred as Cromwell backed his red Dodge Ram pickup truck through the crowded parking lot at Midtown Community Center after fireworks on July 4, 2015. It is one of the worst crashes anyone can remember in Oak Ridge.
Cromwell and others had filed fraudulent liens that led to a second, separate case that was tried in Nashville. In that case, five East Tennessee men who have been identified as “sovereign citizens” were sentenced to 20-50 years in prison in June after filing fraudulent liens worth hundreds of millions of dollars against public officials, law enforcement officers, and others.
The five defendants—who included Cromwell and Austin Gary Cooper of Clinton—had earlier been convicted of more than 200 counts of filing unlawful liens and forgery of more than $250,000. That was at the end of a six-day trial in Davidson County Criminal Court in Nashville in late April.
At last check, it didn’t appear that any of the cases involving fraudulent liens had been appealed to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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