Appeals Court vacates eight aggravated assault covictions against Lee Harold Cromwell; vehicular homicide stands
District Attorney General Dave Clark will evaluate whether to retry a 68-year-old Oak Ridge man on eight counts of aggravated assault stemming from a July 4 incident in Oak Ridge in 2015, a press release from Clark’s office stated last week.
The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals “took issue with the jury instructions issued by a Special Judge hearing the original trial and vacated a portion of the jury’s verdict as a result.”
Lee Harold Cromwell was convicted of vehicular homicide of 37-year-old James Robinson and eight counts of aggravated assault when he drove his pickup truck into a crowd watching the Oak Ridge fireworks show.
The conviction for vehicular homicide remains — which carried a five-year sentence — but the convictions on the eight counts of aggravated assault were vacated.
“The case will be returned to the trial court where the case could be re-tried on the portion of the verdict that was vacated,” the release said.
“The District Attorney General’s Office will soon begin a process of evaluating whether to continue prosecution of those charges and resulting convictions that were vacated by the Court of Criminal Appeals.”
Cromwell remains in prison on the vehicular homicide conviction.
He also faces another 25-year sentence stemming from a conviction for filing fictitious liens in Nashville against the property of police officers and others involved in his Anderson County case; including the judge and prosecutor, the release said.
Along with other sovereign citizens who used similar techniques in Anderson, Sevier, and Greene counties, Cromwell has been tried in Nashville for forging lien documents and filing them against public officials.
He and his co-defendants were recently convicted of those charges in a separate trial in Nashville. As a result, Cromwell was sentenced to an additional 25 years in prison that he will begin serving once he has completed his sentence from Anderson County.
Cromwell’s filing fraudulent liens, however, led to the vacating of some of his charges stemming from the July 4, 2015, incident.
“As a result of the lien filed against him by Cromwell, Circuit and Criminal Court Judge Donald Elledge, who normally holds court in Anderson County, stepped down from the case (the July 4 incident) upon his own. The State Supreme Court then appointed Special Judge Paul Summers to conduct the trial. It was the instructions to the jury prepared and delivered by Judge Summers that the Court of Criminal Appeals found defective,” Clark’s release said.
“Regarding a possible re-trial on the eight counts of aggravated assault that were overturned, this office will begin a discussion with victims and evaluate whether to conduct a new trial.
“Given Mr. Cromwell’s age and the sentences he has to serve, we must consider the best interests of the State and the victims to determine the course of action that will best lead to justice,” the release stated.