By new STAR staff reporter Nathan Baker
A couple charged in the death of a 78-year-old Johnson City man and with attempting to cover up evidence of the crime were arraigned in Carter County Criminal Court Tuesday.
Timothy Jason Pate, 43, and Whitney Kristina Harris, 21, pleaded not guilty to the charges of first-degree murder, felony murder and tampering with evidence handed down by a grand jury on Nov. 13.
Assistant Public Defender Melanie Sellers entered the pleas on their behalf, although Harris will be represented by the public defender appointed to her case in General Sessions Court, and attorney James Lonon was appointed to represent Pate.
Upon the recommendation of Sellers, Criminal Court Judge Robert Cupp ordered a mental evaluation for Harris before the couple’s next court appearance on Jan. 25.