published Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Franklin County, Tenn., cornfield slaying search expands to New York

The search for the fourth suspect in the March 24 cornfield slaying of Cowan, Tenn., resident Corey Matthews has expanded to New York state, authorities said.

Authorities in Steuben County, N.Y., said they are on the lookout for David Gordon Jenkins, 46, who is said to be a former resident of the town of Corning, N.Y.

Jenkins has been listed on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's Top 10 Most Wanted list since early April and is the subject of a $1,000 reward for information in Tennessee, authorities said.

Franklin County, Tenn., Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Chris Guess said U.S. Marshals Office agents have "focused" efforts in Steuben County and believe Jenkins is in that county or nearby.

"He is from there. He might have gone back home. He's familiar with the area," Guess said.

Jenkins is one of four men charged in the slaying of Matthews and is the lone suspect still at large.

He is white with brown hair and brown eyes. He's 5-feet, 10-inches tall, weighs about 185 pounds and has tattoos on his arms, left shoulder, chest, back and thighs. He also has numerous scars, authorities said.

The investigation started with the discovery of Matthews' body in a cornfield east of his hometown of Cowan on March 24 after his family reported him missing. Authorities said Matthews died of blunt-force trauma to his head and was found on his back in clothes wet from a recent rainstorm.

The victim and all four suspects are affiliated with the white supremacy group Aryan Nations, Franklin County investigators said. Matthews was "targeted" in a dispute over the group's doctrine.

Twelfth Judicial District Attorney General Mike Taylor said those affiliations will play into prosecution of the case.

Franklin County officials arrested Manchester, Tenn., residents Todd Eugene Dalton, 39, and John Corey Lanier, 26, on first-degree murder charges on grand jury indictments issued April 8. A third suspect, Coty Keith Holmes, 25, of Hillsboro, Tenn., was taken into custody in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and since has been extradited to Tennessee to face charges.

All three are being held without bond at the Franklin County Jail as the search continues for Jenkins, the oldest of the foursome.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Jenkins is asked to call the Franklin County Sheriff's Office at 931-962-0123 or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND. Jenkins is considered armed and extremely dangerous.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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