published Saturday, March 16th, 2013

Coffee County slaying suspect arrested

State and federal authorities in Imperial Beach, Calif., have arrested a recent Chattanooga resident in the November slaying of a Manchester, Tenn., man.

Victim Thomas Colucci, 41, was a former stage manager for country singer Jo Dee Messina and was well known in Nashville's music community, industry officials said.

Troy Lynn King, also 41, was taken into custody March 6 in California and is fighting extradition to Tennessee to face charges of first-degree murder, felony murder and theft over $1,000, Coffee County Sheriff's Office Capt. Frank Watkins said.

The arrest stems from an investigation launched Nov. 13 after callers reported seeing Colucci's girlfriend, Connie King, running down the street with blood on her, Watkins said.

Connie King told investigators she and Colucci had been attacked at his Maple Springs Road home in a rural area between McMinnville and Manchester, Watkins said in November.

When deputies got there, they found Colucci had been shot several times, he said. Colucci was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

On Friday, Coffee County sheriff's investigator Chad Partin said officials were interested in Troy King from the beginning.

"During the investigation and keeping tabs on him, we saw where he had left the Chattanooga area and made his way to the San Diego area," Partin said.

Coffee County authorities contacted the U.S. Marshal's office in Chattanooga, which in turn relayed Troy King's description and whereabouts to federal officials in California.

"The U.S. Marshal's office set up surveillance, and that led to them picking him up in a neighborhood convenience store," Partin said.

Coffee County authorities tapped King as their suspect after they learned he was Connie King's estranged husband, Partin said. Connie King had told others she and Colucci were going to marry, he said.

Partin declined to comment further on the relationship.

Tripp Hunt of Crew One productions in Nashville knew Colucci for about nine years and said he was liked throughout the music industry in the Music City.

Colucci, originally from Erial, N.J., worked with Messina's crew and was working with the band 311 when he was killed, Hunt said.

"We're one big family in this music industry," Hunt said Friday. "It really took us to the side.

"The biggest thing is those two boys of his," he said. "They lost a great dad. He was a super dad."

Coffee County authorities said another arrest is possible as the investigation continues.

Tennessee authorities are drafting paperwork to begin the extradition proceedings, officials said.

King is set for an extradition hearing March 21 in San Diego, according to officials at the San Diego Central Jail where King is being held.

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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