Hazelett claims self-defense, not indicted

Marisa Anders Editor

October 5, 2013

A New Tazewell man charged with voluntary manslaughter in the death of another was not indicted by a Claiborne County Grand Jury.

The grand jury found there wasn’t sufficient evidence to go forward with charges against Larry Hazelett, who was charged in the December 2012 death of Gary Butcher. Hazelett claimed the shooting was in self-defense.

Hazelett was represented by attorney David Stanifer.

“I think (the grand jury) got it right,” said Stanifer. “The system worked.”

Hazelett, 64, and Butcher, 56, of Payne Circle in Tazewell, allegedly got into an altercation the night of Dec. 8, at 2385 Old Highway 25E in Tazewell. The area is near the intersection of Cave Springs Road, Old Highway 25E and U.S. Highway 25E.

According to a release from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Tazewell Police Department responded to several 911 calls at approximately 8 p.m. Once they arrived at the scene, they discovered Butcher had been shot multiple times. According to the release, the two men were in an altercation when Hazelett allegedly retrieved a gun from his vehicle and shot Butcher.

Butcher died at the scene.

The Tazewell Police Department, Claiborne County Sheriff’s Department and Claiborne County EMS responded to the scene. TBI Agent Jerry Spoon was called to the scene and was in charge of the investigation. The TBI charged Hazelett with one count of criminal homicide and booked him into the Claiborne County Jail.

When the case was presented to the grand jury in September, the charge was changed to voluntary manslaughter.

“I think the TBI, with the assistance of local law enforcement such as the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Department and the Tazewell Police Department, did a proper investigation,” Stanifer said. “In our opinion it was self-defense.”