|Trio charged in campground killing
By J.J. Stambaugh knoxnews.com
Three people have been charged with murder in the
Wednesday shooting death of a Lenoir City teenager during a robbery
attempt at the Yarberry Peninsula Campground, said Loudon County Sheriff
Stephen Andrew Bridges, 21, of Lenoir City; Jessica Nicole Ward, 21, of
Lenoir City; and Jonathan Vincent Hurst, 19, homeless, were arrested
today on charges of first-degree murder and especially aggravated
robbery, Guider said.
Investigators believe that Stephen Michael Booth was killed between
3:30-5 a.m. in the parking lot of the campground located just off
Highway 321. No campers reported hearing gunshots, authorities said.
“We believe the incident occurred due to an attempt to rob Mr. Booth and
something apparently went sour,” Guider said. “A significant struggle
took place and ultimately a gunshot to the top of Mr. Booth’s head
caused his death.”
Investigators believe that Bridges was the shooter, but all three
suspects have given statements indicating “they were present, they knew
what the plan was,” the sheriff said.
The gun used in the slaying hasn’t been recovered but investigators are
optimistic it will be found, according to Guider.
Guider said the case was solved due to the diligent efforts of Sheriff’s
Office detectives and the Patrol Division that “worked tirelessly for
over 50 hours to a successful ending along with TVA Police Lt. Lauren
Harrison, who was with us from the beginning to end.”
The Knoxville Police Department also helped in the case by taking one of
the suspects into custody, he said.
More details as they develop online and in Saturday’s News Sentinel.