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Father says Tenn. authorities 'pushed' sons accused in double slaying

The Associated Press

KINGSTON, Tenn.- The father of two brothers accused in the deadly ambush of a sheriff's deputy and a friend says authorities have continually harassed his sons.

"They pushed them as far as they could," Clyde Houston told The Knoxville News Sentinel on Friday. "They pushed them over the bank. You kick a dog so long, he'll bite you."

Leon Houston, 47, and his brother, Rocky, 46, are accused of fatally shooting Deputy Bill Jones and his friend, Mike Brown, as they pulled up to Leon Houston's home Thursday to serve felony warrants on the two brothers. The charges contained in the warrants have not been disclosed.

The deputy returned fire, but Brown wasn't armed. Rocky Houston was shot in the hip and wrist. He was arrested at a hospital and transferred to University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, where he was in stable condition and under guard.

Leon Houston was apprehended Friday after a full day on the run.

District Attorney General Scott McCluen said he plans to submit the case to a grand jury in June.

Neighbors said the Houstons had been patrolling the borders of their property with assault rifles around their necks for the past week.

A former security guard at the Department of Energy's research and weapons installations in Oak Ridge, Rocky Houston was fired in 2003 for a "pattern of behavior" that included threatening judges, failing to appear in court, disorderly conduct, and barricading himself in his home for four days before a SWAT team was called in to bring him out.

According to an affidavit, Rocky Houston became enraged during a hearing over a traffic ticket in 2001 and warned the judge, "Watch yourself and watch your family. If you thought Waco was something then you haven't seen (expletive) yet."

But Clyde Houston, a former county commissioner who ran unsuccessfully for sheriff in 1986, said Friday that his son didn't threaten the judge and contends that authorities embarked on a campaign of harassment.

Roane County Sheriff David Haggard dismissed the allegations, saying Jones was doing his duty as a police officer at the time of the shooting.

"We were just out to enforce the law," he said, "and serve the warrants that were taken out on them."

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