Lenoir City man killed by single shot to back of head

Hugh G. Willett knoxnews.com

Investigators have determined that Stephen Michael Booth of Lenoir City was killed by a single gunshot to the back of the head.

The 18-year-old, found Wednesday morning, also sustained blunt force injuries consistent with a struggle.

Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider said detectives are looking closely at friends and associates of Booth, who was found by a passerby at the Yarberry Peninsula Campground.

“We’re bringing in friends and acquaintances one by one and interviewing them,” Guider said today. “We feel the information we’re getting is leading us in the right direction.”

Investigators believe Booth was killed between 3:30-5 a.m. in the parking lot of the campground located just off Highway 321. None of the campers reported hearing gunshots, Guider said.

Investigators said Booth has had at least five arrests in the past four months, including charges of possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, failure to appear and possession of prohibited weapons.

His most recent arrest was on Sept. 20 for failure to appear on a traffic charge.

Records show that one of his failure-to-appear charges in Loudon County was dismissed because Booth was in Knox County Jail at the time.

Knox County records showed recent charges, including cocaine possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal trespassing stemming from a May 31 arrest.

Investigators say Booth also had a juvenile record.

Booth lived with his mother and stepfather at a rented house on Old Highway 95 in Lenoir City since January 2006.

Harold Brown, owner of the house, said he spoke occasionally with Booth, who was missing one hand due to a congenital problem.

“He seemed like a real nice kid. He talked about continuing his education,” Brown recalled.

Assistant Principal Tim Breedlove of the Greenback school said Booth attended the school as a freshman but transferred to Sequoyah High School in Monroe County in 2004.

More details as they develop online and in Friday’s News Sentinel.