Former Death Row Inmate Sues McMinn County

Twenty years ago, a McMinn County mother and father were charged with raping and killing their young daughter.  It was an unthinkable crime that caused outcry throughout the Athens community.  Eight-year-old Necia Vann was strangled on July 30th, 1992.

Her body was found inside her family’s mobile home.  A few weeks later, her parents, Gussie and Bernice Vann were charged not only in her murder, but investigators say they also raped their daughter.

The case went to court in 1994, and both were convicted.  Bernice has since passed away, but Gussie spent 19 years on death row, until last year.

That’s when all the charges related to his daughter’s murder were dropped.  It’s a rare exoneration after he was scheduled to be put to death, five different times..

Now, Gussie Vann wants the county that charged him to pay up for the trauma and emotional toll that 19 years on death row has caused.

The lawsuit says McMinn County investigators botched the case, violating Vann’s rights, forcing confessions, taking away his family, and almost his life.


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