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  • Writer's pictureRobin Lyons

Anger and Rage



It had mostly been a normal Thanksgiving holiday for a blended family of six—mother (55), father (61), three adult daughters, and one adult son (28). The son was the only child the two parents had together.


After the holiday, the parents planned to retire, sell their home, and move 90 miles away to a mountain home where the mother’s late mother had lived. The mother had already submitted her retirement papers with her employer.

 

Although the adult son lived about an hour away from his parents, they still paid his bills. The only job he’d ever had was an internship through a summer research program.

 

The parents had told their daughters that they would let the son know after Christmas that they wouldn’t be able to continue paying his bills after they retired.

 

According to testimony from the daughters, other than the brother being more present with the family than he usually was, Thanksgiving seemed normal. He, being an introvert, typically stayed in his old bedroom.

 

The mother’s boss had a retirement lunch planned for the Monday after Thanksgiving. Since the lunch was not a surprise, the boss became concerned when the mother failed to report for work on Monday. She tried calling and texting without making contact. After the lunch time had passed, she called the police and asked them to do a welfare check at their home.

 

The officer who arrived at the home noted there were two vehicles in the driveway. He knocked and rang the doorbell. All doors were locked, and nothing looked off.

 

Later in the day, the mother’s boss called the police again asking for an update. When she learned all seemed fine, she asked them to go again because something “was off.” The boss knew her employee wouldn’t have missed her own retirement lunch. A detective and two officers went to the home and gained access through the garage. When they opened the door from the garage, the house was warm and had a strong chemical smell.

 

They didn’t find the parent’s bodies at the home. They found their body parts. The son had stabbed his parents to death and then cut them into pieces over a two-day period. After he transferred money from their accounts to his, his final, depraved act was trying to dissolve their body parts in an acid solution.

 

He’d done many odd things, like remove the back doorknob and put it on the front door—perhaps to keep the sisters from entering the home. He had turned on all the heaters—they assumed to eventually catch the house on fire. They found evidence that showed the son had done this—as if he hadn’t finished stagging the fire.

 

The case went to trial. The son’s defense attorney described his client as outgoing, friendly and happy the weekend of the crime. The crime involved anger and rage, implying his client wasn’t capable of such extreme emotions.

 

A jury found him guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of felony murder, and two counts of abuse of a corpse. They gave him two life sentences in prison.

 

At the son’s sentencing, the judge said the defendant had a …

 

“sick and depraved mind.”

 

Those involved in the investigation guessed that the parents must have told their son they were cutting him off financially and that was the trigger for his anger and rage. The son never spoke to the investigators. And he didn’t testify at trial.

 

 

Source: Tennessee Appellate Court, Washington Post, Law & Crime, Knox News

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