Baughman found guilty of reckless homicide in 2016 Shooting Death

After a three-day long trial that began on Tuesday at the Morgan County Courthouse, a Morgan County Jury returned a verdict late Thursday evening in the case involving the October 28, 2016, shooting death of Ellis Ray Hamby by his girlfriend, Tonya Baughman.  The jury of six (6) men and six (6) women found Baughman guilty of reckless homicide.  The shooting death of Hamby occurred at the residence of Baughman in the Oakdale community of Morgan County.

Tonya Baughman 2016 Mugshot (Courtesy TBI)

The shooting incident was investigated by the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.  Baughman was originally arrested on a charge of Voluntary Manslaughter, a Class C Felony.  A Morgan County Grand Jury meeting in September of 2017, after hearing the case presented, increased those charges via an indictment to First Degree Murder.

During the prosecution Baughman was first appointed to the Public Defender’s Office.  Baughman then hired private counsel, ultimately going through two different private defense attorneys until she was represented at trial by Morgan County defense attorney Kit Rodgers, who is also a former prosecutor. The shuffle of Baughman firing, hiring, firing and hiring different attorneys contributed to the lengthy delay in getting this case to trial.

Judge Jeff Wicks presided over the trial where the State of Tennessee’s prosecution team of ADA Bob Edwards and ADA Jed Bassett sought to show that Baughman premeditated before shooting Hamby multiple times with a shotgun.  The State tried to show that Baughman then staged the scene to appear as if Hamby was attacking using a tire tool.

Through the testimony of the medical examiner, Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan, the jury was told that any of the four shot gun blasts to Ellis Ray Hamby’s torso would have been fatal.  At the scene investigators found a tire tool tightly gripped in Ellis Ray Hamby’s right hand. Witness proof showed that Hamby was left-handed. Dr. Miluesenic-Polchan explained that any one of the shotgun blasts would have caused Hamby to drop the tire tool upon the impact of either shotgun blast. 

The defense followed a theory of self-defense and battered wife syndrome.  The defense tried to establish this when Tonya Baughman took the stand to testify in her own defense.

During the almost nine hours of deliberation the jury asked to review a second time both the 911 call from Baughman and Morgan County Sheriff’s Office body camera footage of the crime scene.   The jury also asked for Judge Wicks to explain to them what ‘unlawfully killed’ means.

After lengthy deliberation, the jury unanimously settled on the Class D Felony Reckless Homicide as a lesser included offense of the indicted charge of First-Degree Murder.  Baughman is set for sentencing on June 7, 2024.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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