Robert Seth Denton, 19
A new lawyer will need to be appointed in the case of a Bristol man who is
charged with killing three of his family members, and that attorney may need to
have experience in death penalty trials.
Robert Seth Denton, 19, formerly of King College Road in Bristol, made his
initial court appearance on Tuesday. He is charged with three counts of
first-degree murder, aggravated assault and felony reckless endangerment.
During the court appearance, Denton's court-appointed attorney, E. Lynn
Dougherty, withdrew as counsel. Dougherty, based in Bristol, cited a conflict of
interest because he knew some of the witnesses for the victims and had
represented the defendant's family in the past.
"Because of the magnitude of the case and because of his contact
professionally, he thought it would be best to withdraw," said Barry Staubus,
district attorney general of Sullivan County. "Judge (J. Klyne) Lauderback
allowed that to occur. So another lawyer will be appointed to represent Mr.
Lauderback will appoint another attorney for Denton and will be looking for
attorneys experienced in handling death penalty cases. Staubus said he has not
decided on whether to pursue the death penalty in this case and said he will not
decide until it comes before criminal court.
Denton is accused of walking into the home of his grandparents, donning a
camouflage jacket and high-powered rifle, and opening fire on his grandmother,
mother and step-father.
He is alleged to have walked into the residence via a rear door and firing
on the victims, identified as Lena Rose, 57, Toshya Milhorn, 39 and James
Milhorn, 36, within a matter of seconds.
Six children were in the home at the time, five of whom were biological
children of either Toshya Milhorn or James Milhorn. One child was a neighbor.
After the shooting, Denton allegedly walked out of the home and told his
grandfather, who was repairing a vacant trailer adjacent to the home, he needed
to call 911. Denton then took off down the driveway.
The grandfather went in the trailer, found the victims, grabbed a pistol
and took off after his grandson. He found Denton sitting in his car and and shot
him, wounding him in the arm.
Denton and his grandfather then both called 911. The two women were
pronounced dead at the scene and James Milhorn was flown to Johnson City Medical
Center, where he later died.
Shell casings were found on the floor and on the kitchen table in the home.
Officers found a camouflage jacket containing numerous magazines full of live
rounds of ammunition, along with a brown rifle.
Denton was treated and released from Bristol Regional Medical Center and
transported to the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.
His bond has been set at $1 million. He is scheduled to appear again in
court on Oct. 5.