Firm Partners with the Tennessee Innocence Project, Envision Healthcare, and Gordon Byars Law to Represent Greg Lance, Asserting Wrongful Conviction in 1998 Double Homicide
Nashville (October 1, 2021) – Bass, Berry & Sims attorneys David Esquivel and Quyen Vo, in partnership with the Tennessee Innocence Project, Envision Healthcare’s legal department, and attorney Gordon Byars are providing pro bono counsel seeking to overturn the conviction in a 1998 Cookeville, Tenn. double homicide that was featured on the September 30 episode of “True Crime Story: It Couldn’t Happen Here” on SundanceTV. Client Greg Lance was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder, aggravated burglary and arson, and after maintaining his innocence throughout 21 years of imprisonment to date, the legal team is investigating and pursuing the claim that Lance was wrongfully convicted based entirely on circumstantial evidence – none of which placed Lance at the scene of the crime.
“As passionate advocates for access to justice and a more fair criminal justice system, we are proud to join forces with our co-counsel to represent Greg in his innocence claim,” said David Esquivel, Pro Bono
Member at Bass, Berry & Sims. “We believe there are serious questions about the evidence leading to the conviction in Greg’s case, and we look forward to the opportunity to present new and modern evidence in his defense.”
“True Crime Story: It Couldn’t Happen Here” is a six-part series showcasing violent crimes occurring in small towns across the United States. The September 30 episode featured the 1998 murders of Victor and Alla Kolesnikow and the burning of their home in Cookeville, Tenn. The state of Tennessee accused Lance of committing the murders in retaliation for the victims’ foreclosing on a trailer park he had purchased from them and to avoid upcoming bankruptcy proceedings. The episode featured interviews with Lance’s mother, Joyce Argo; his daughter, Rebecca Lance; and his family friend, Linda Bowsman asserting Lance’s innocence.
“We are grateful to the team at ‘True Crime Story’ and SundanceTV for highlighting Greg’s case as we work diligently to prove his innocence in this tragic case,” said Jessica Van Dyke, Executive Director at Tennessee Innocence Project. “We are passionate about our mission to exonerate the wrongfully convicted in Tennessee, and we are excited for the opportunity to represent Greg and pursue a number of unanswered questions about the evidence in his case.”
Joining Bass, Berry & Sims and the Tennessee Innocence Project in the matter are members of Envision Healthcare’s in-house counsel team, including Eileen Parsons, associate general counsel, and Tiffany Turner, former corporate counsel at Envision. Gordon Byars, a criminal defense attorney in Cookeville, Tenn, serves as local counsel.
“As part of Envision Healthcare’s commitment to caring deeply by serving our community, we are proud of our legal team’s work to ensure justice in this matter,” said Eileen Parsons, Associate General Counsel at Envision Healthcare. “Working alongside Bass, Berry & Sims, the Tennessee Innocence Project, and Gordon Byars has been a great experience for our team, and we are grateful for the opportunity to pursue justice for Greg.”
The trailer for the September 30 episode is available here. To view the full episode, please check your television provider for SundanceTV video on demand or you may access it on AMC+.
About Bass, Berry & Sims PLC
With nearly 300 attorneys in offices in Washington, D.C. and Tennessee, Bass, Berry & Sims represents numerous publicly traded companies and Fortune 500 businesses in significant litigation, investigations, international regulatory matters, and business transactions. Our attorneys work seamlessly across substantive practice disciplines, industries and geographies to deliver highly effective service and business-focused solutions. For more information, visit www.bassberry.com.
About Tennessee Innocence Project (TIP)
TIP was established in February 2019 to focus on representing wrongfully convicted men and women in the state of Tennessee with the goal to help exonerate these innocent individuals. Until the official launch of TIP, Tennessee was only one of two states without an organization investigating and litigating innocence claims in the United States. More information can be found at https://www.innocenceproject.org/policy/tennessee/.
About Envision Healthcare Corporation
Envision Healthcare Corporation is a leading national medical group that delivers physician and advanced practice provider services, primarily in the areas of emergency and hospitalist medicine, anesthesiology, radiology/teleradiology, and neonatology to more than 1,800 clinical departments in healthcare facilities in 45 states and the District of Columbia. Post-acute care is delivered through an array of clinical professionals and integrated technologies which, when combined, contribute to efficient and effective population health management strategies. As a leader in ambulatory surgical care, the medical group owns and operates 250 surgery centers in 34 states and the District of Columbia, with medical specialties ranging from gastroenterology to ophthalmology and orthopedics. In total, the medical group offers a differentiated suite of clinical solutions on a national scale with a local understanding of our communities, creating value for health systems, payers, providers, and patients. For additional information, visit www.envisionhealth.com.
About Byars Law
Byars Law provides legal representation to individuals and families in Cookeville and the Upper Cumberland (Tennessee) area. Gordon Byars focuses his practice on criminal defense, business defense and general civil litigation. He has argued before the Tennessee Court of Appeals and handled cases before Administrative tribunals including the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, and the Board of Nursing. More information is available at https://byarslawoffice.com/.