The Roane County murder trial of a man accused of shooting and killing a Knoxville woman is underway, nearly four years after the crime.
44-year-old Shawn Smoot is facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of his 23-year-old Brooke Morris, a former employee of Smoot’s insurance business and his former girlfriend. Morris’s body was found shot and dumped by the side of a rural Roane County road in October of 2011.
This week’s court proceedings began with jury selection, which took three days. The jury will be sequestered through the duration of the trial.
Thursday began with opening arguments, during which prosecutors described Smoot as possessive, jealous and controlling and said he was “obsessed” with Morris. Prosecutors say that he could also be violent, which led Morris to file a restraining order against Smoot. Prosecutors say that the restraining order destroyed Smoot’s marriage and career and eventually led him to kill her.
Defense attorneys countered by saying there was no physical evidence tying Smoot to the crime scene and that Morris had asked a judge to rescind the protective order prior to her death.
Witnesses called to the stand on Thursday included Morris’s mother and Roane County Sheriff’s detective. Testimony in the case is expected to last for two to three weeks.