A local man facing two counts of first-degree murder will go on trial after the new year.

The trial of Colby Shane Cannon, who called 911 in June 2017 and said he had shot his fiancee and sister outside his house at 6071 White Wing Road, will start Jan. 8 in Loudon County, Russell Johnson, 9th Judicial District attorney general, said. A courtroom location is undecided.

“(Cannon) claims that an altercation, a confrontation had occurred with his sister and his fiancée prior to the shooting, and it’s unsure as to what exactly caused him to start shooting randomly,” Tim Guider, Loudon County sheriff, said in 2017.

The “first officer on the scene was four minutes after the call came out, and the suspect was taken into custody without incident at that time,” he added. “Aid was rendered to the victims, at which point the fiancée, Bethany McKenzie, was pronounced dead at the scene. The sister, Taylor Creamer, was transported to an area hospital where she later passed.”

An incident report notes Cannon and McKenzie were arguing while driving with three children in Lenoir City, which led to McKenzie exiting the vehicle at the intersection of U.S. Highways 321 and 11. McKenzie contacted Creamer for a ride home. When the two arrived at the residence where Cannon had brought the three children, another argument began inside the home. That is when Cannon retrieved a 9mm Smith and Wesson, followed the two into the yard and fired shots.

On Oct. 18, Criminal Court Judge Jeff Wicks in Morgan County was scheduled to hear defense motions. Johnson said all motions filed were standard requests for disclosure of information except one, which sought more information on charges involving injuries to one of the children present during the shootings. Additional records were provided about the child’s injuries.

“The other charges have to do with the children being present when the crime was committed,” Johnson said in an email correspondence. “One child in particularly exposed as it is believed that he attended his mother’s injuries just after she was shot.”

Cannon is represented by attorney Robert Kurtz of Knoxville. He could not be reached for comment by News-Herald presstime.

Johnson’s office is represented by Robert Edwards and Jonathan Edwards.

Pill mill trial begins

A federal trial began last week in Knoxville for Sylvia Hofstetter and three others who were arrested in 2015 for their involvement in a pill mill operation in Lenoir City and Knoxville.

Jury selection and opening statements took place for defendants Hofstetter, Cynthia Clemons, Courtney Newman and Holli Womack.

Hofstetter managed the Lenoir City clinic on U.S. Highway 321 and faces several charges including conspiracy to commit money laundering, drug trafficking conspiracy and money laundering.

Hofstetter allegedly spent money from pill mill operations on her Falcon Pointe Drive residence, a $30,000 Lexus and $45,100 at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in North Carolina “for the purpose of gambling.”

According to an affidavit, Hofstetter removed more than $3.5 million in disbursements made from clinic accounts between 2011-14. The incident stems from pain management clinics by the Urgent Care & Surgery Enterprise in Hollywood, Fla., and East Tennessee that was allegedly organized by Luigi Palma, Benjamin Rodriguez and Luca Sartini. Hofstetter was employed to manage the Hollywood clinic around 2009 or 2010 until December 2010 when she moved to East Tennessee to operate a clinic in Knoxville and Lenoir City — Comprehensive Healthcare Systems — from May 2011 to March 2015.

In a memorandum opinion and order filed Monday, U.S. District Judge Thomas A. Varlan denied the defendant’s motion to exclude evidence of alleged thefts.

The government believes the alleged thefts are intrinsic and “inextricably intertwined” with the charged conduct, notably the conspiracy and money laundering charges.

The defendant also believes her argument of evidence of her alleged thefts are inadmissible as “unfairly prejudicial.”

“The court explained in its oral ruling on the initial motion to exclude evidence of defendant’s thefts that the probative value of the evidence is not substantially outweighed by a danger of unfair prejudice,” the memorandum opinion reads. “The court has reconsidered this issue and again finds evidence of defendant’s alleged thefts admissible under Rule 403 for the reasons set forth in the court’s oral ruling, namely that the evidence is not unfairly prejudicial.”

Hofstetter is represented by attorney Charles C. Burks Jr.