Murderer denied latest appeal

One of two involved in 1977 Kodak bank robbery murdes, 79, continues to file appeals
Jan. 25, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Judge Rex Henry Ogle is hoping that one of the county’s most notorious convicts gets the message: “No means no.”

In an order filed Tuesday, Ogle dismisses with prejudice all claims and pleadings before his court from George William Brady, one of two men convicted in one of Sevier County’s most heinous crimes — the “execution style” murder of four people in a Kodak bank as part of a robbery in April of 1977. Brady and his accomplice, Leroy Marshall, were sentenced to a total of 416 years in prison for the crime, which happened during a brief period when the death penalty was not an option in Tennessee.

Brady, who is now 79 years old, has been in prison since 1977. He’s currently residing in the Northeast Correctional Complex in Mountain City, as is 60-year-old Marshall. Brady’s been filing appeals in state and federal court regularly since his conviction.

In Ogle’s words, “instead of having ‘one bite of the apple,’ the petitioner has feasted upon the many barrels of legal fruit offered by the American legal system.”

The judge outlines 21 motions or appeals Brady filed, dating back to his initial appeals to state and federal courts in 1979. Appellate courts in both jurisdictions have affirmed his conviction, and the state and federal Supreme Courts have declined to review the cases.

However, Brady has still been filing motions with those courts and in Sevier County Circuit Court, where the case was originally tried. The latest were filed in June.

In his ruling, Ogle states “every claim that has been, could have been, or should have been filed, has long been extinguished.” All remaining claims by Brady are dismissed with prejudice in the ruling.

The judge is actually making what could be the final ruling on a case that started in his father’s court. W. Henry Ogle oversaw the arraignment of Brady and Marshall in Sevier County.

The conviction came 1977, just a few months after the murder of four people inside the Citizens National Bank branch on Highway 66 in Sevier County.

Bank manager Hugh Kyle Beeler, reception Harriett Swaggerty, head teller Linda Simms Davis and a customer, Earl Underwood, were found inside the bank. All but Swaggerty were dead when authorities arrived; she died a short time later. Their bodies were found face down, and authorities said it appeared they had been shot “execution style” in the backs of their heads.

About $30,000 was missing from the bank, including “bait money” — meaning the bank had recorded the serial number of the bills.

As law enforcement officers investigated, they learned that a brown El Camino had been seen at the bank around the time of the robbery.

By the end of the night, an officer spotted a similar car and found Brady inside. When they searched the trunk, they found more than $2,000, including some of the bait money. They also found a gun under the dash that forensics experts matched to the bullets used to kill three of the victims in the robbery, and additional cash and “bait money” on his person.

By the time they were tried for the murders in July 1977, Brady and Marshall had already been convicted in federal court on bank robbery charges. After a trial that lasted several days, a Sevier County jury took just two hours to convict the pair.

The death penalty was not an option at the time. The state’s procedure had been ruled unconstitutional, and shortly before the murder then-Gov. Ray Blanton vetoed the Legislature’s attempt to bring it into compliance.

Officials at the time called the murder one of the most heinous crimes in memory and said the bank robbery was the first in the county in 50 years.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com