Activist’s killer probation violation overturned on appeal


KNOXVILLE –Chad Allen Conyers, convicted killer of Joseph Camber, is free after the State of Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals in Knoxville overturned his probation violation.

Conyers, who had previously plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the April 2002 death of Camber, local gay activist and employee at the Carousel II, had been sentenced to a term of four years in split-confinement in the custody of the Knox County Sheriff.

In a ruling by Appeals Court Judge David H. Welles, the previous ruling by Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner was overturned, and Conyers will be placed on judicial diversion as originally ordered.

In the decision filed today, the Welles remanded Conyers back to the jurisdiction of Baumgartner’s court and the originally planned judicial diversion. Under that stipulation, Conyers will be allowed to return home to Virginia and continue his probation with no supervision from either Tennessee or Virginia courts.

Virginia does not recognize judicial diversion from out-of-state courts. Combined with the inability of Tennessee courts to order supervision in another state, the net effect is that Conyers is free to continue living in Virginia with no legal constraints as long as he does not travel to Tennessee and commit a crime.

Conyers was originally placed on judicial diversion after having testified that he had met all requirements and denying that he had had anything to do with Camber’s death.

The cause of Camber’s death was proved to be manual strangulation. DNA studies of material found under the victim’s fingernails proved conclusively to match Chad Allen Conyers.

Watch the O&AN Web site for further details as this story develops.