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Lee Cromwell (TBI)

Cromwell wins appeal, eight assault convictions tossed

The man convicted of hitting and killing a man in a parking lot following the 2015 Independence Day fireworks in Oak Ridge will get a new trial after eight of his nine convictions were overturned by an appeals court.

68-year-old Lee Cromwell was found guilty of reckless vehicular homicide and eight counts of reckless aggravated assault in February 2017.

Oak Ridge Police Department said Cromwell hit and killed James Robinson of Knoxville with his pickup as he backed it through the parking lot of the Midtown Community Center. Robinson died trying to save his daughter from being struck.

Nine people were injured.

Cromwell’s attorneys argued in appeal that there were several reasons to overturn his convictions, including a lack of evidence and improper jury instruction.

The only argument the appeals court agreed with was that the jury was not given the proper definition of reckless aggravated assault under Tennessee law. The court overturned those eight counts and ordered a new trial for Cromwell on just those eight counts. His conviction and sentence of reckless vehicular homicide will stand.

The District Attorney General’s Office said Friday that they are evaluating whether to continue prosecuting Cromwell on the assault charges and say in a press release that officials will speak with the victims as they make that determination. The DAs office will also take into account Cromwell’s age as well as the sentences he has already received as they make that decision.

Cromwell’s vehicular homicide conviction was upheld and he is serving a five-year prison sentence on that charge. Last week, he was also sentenced to an additional 25 years behind bars on his conviction in Nashville on charges of filing millions of dollars worth of fraudulent liens against court officials and law enforcement officers. That sentence will begin at the conclusion of the five-year sentence on the homicide conviction.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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