DA wants Anthony Lacy put to death

Published 10:09 am Monday, February 2, 2015

Lacy Death Penalty

A Roan Mountain teen charged with murder could face the death penalty if convicted.
On Jan. 26, the District Attorney’s Office filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty in the case of 18-year-old Anthony Lacy of Roan Mountain, who is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the July 2014 killing of Danny Ray Vance. The state has not filed a notice to seek the death penalty against Lacy’s co-defendant, 19-year-old Demetrice Cordell of Roan Mountain, also charged with first-degree murder in the case.
In his notice to the court, District Attorney General Tony Clark gave two specific aggravating circumstances that led his office to seek the death penalty.
The first: “The defendant was previously convicted of one or more felonies, other than the present charge, whose statutory elements involve the use of violence to the person,” Clark said in the notice.
Currently, Lacy has picked up two pending felony charges since his incarceration. The new charges stem from altercations involving Lacy in the Carter County Jail.
The more serious of those two new charges is a charge of attempted first-degree murder in which Lacy is accused of assaulting a corrections officer with a mop handle. The officer was hospitalized with serious injuries after the alleged attack. The second incident involves a charge of aggravated assault in which Lacy is alleged to have assaulted another inmate, leaving the man lying in a pool of blood on the floor of the cell they shared.
Lacy has not yet been convicted in either of those cases, and Clark said in the notice to the court that should no qualifying felony conviction result from those cases, this aggravating circumstance will be removed from the notice to seek the death penalty. The second aggravating factor Clark cited was the fact Vance’s death is alleged to have occurred during a robbery.
Lacy and Cordell allegedly killed the Vance during what police called a “crime spree” through Roan Mountain during the evening hours on July 3 and continuing into July 4. Lacy and Cordell went to Vance’s home on Heaton Creek Road with the intention of robbing him as part of the crime spree, police said.
Family members found Vance’s body near the porch of his home on the morning of July 4. Officers of the Carter County Sheriff’s Department along with agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation responded to the scene to investigate.
While at the scene, officers found a rock that had been broken into multiple pieces and was covered with blood, TBI Agent Brian Fraley said during a court hearing in October. That rock was found to be the murder weapon. An autopsy report revealed Vance died of blunt force trauma to the head which fractured his skull.
As officers investigated a string of thefts throughout Roan Mountain in the hours leading up to the murder of Vance, Lacy and Cordell were developed as suspects in those incidents as well as the death of Vance. The two teens were arrested on the night of July 4, and Fraley said both confessed to their roles in the crimes during interviews following their arrest.
Lacy and Cordell are each facing charges of first degree murder, especially aggravated robbery, evading arrest, three counts of burglary and seven counts of theft of property. Lacy is additionally facing the charges of attempted first degree murder and aggravated assault.
Both men are next scheduled to appear in Carter County Criminal Court on Feb. 6 for a plea deadline.
If Lacy is convicted and sentenced to death, he could be come the youngest person on Tennessee’s Death Row. The current youngest inmate on Death Row is 31-year-old Sedrick Clayton, who was convicted of first degree murder in December. Lacy would become the second Carter Countian on the list. In 1984 David McNish of Carter County was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death. He is still currently serving time awaiting execution by the state. There are currently 69 inmates on Tennessee’s Death Row, including one woman.

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