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Portions Of Autopsy Report To Be Withheld: Monroe County DA

The autopsy report of slain Monroe County Election Commissioner Jim Miller was released Friday to Monroe County’s top prosecutor, but the DA says he will not yet make the report public.

The announcement comes two days after the Knoxville News Sentinel reported that medical examiner Christopher Shamblin repeatedly ignored the paper’s open records requests for the report.

Miller’s body was discovered inside a burning vehicle on July 17 in a rural area in Monroe County. He had been shot to death, and his body was found after a deputy spotted Miller’s car ablaze.

Autopsy reports are considered public record. However, Monroe County District Attorney General Steven Bebb told TNReport on Friday that state law allows courts to withhold the reports from public view.

“Due to the nature of the investigation, there are facts that cannot and should not be released at this time,” Bebb said in a press release. “It would be unfortunate if an investigation into the death of a citizen was compromised by the untimely release of information.”

Bebb, who asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to work the Miller case, said his office would be going to court to prevent disclosure of at least some of the autopsy report.

“The remainder of the autopsy report that will not jeopardize the investigation will be promptly provided to any media outlet that requests access,” Bebb said in the release.

The Knoxville News Sentinel made the public records requests to Shamblin on Oct. 15 and Nov. 1. The State Office of Open Records Counsel told the paper that Shamblin was in apparent violation of state open records laws because he failed to respond to the newspaper’s requests.