Eight days after four young people were found shot to death on Renegade Mountain in Cumberland County, Tenn., a grand jury indicted two suspects on murder charges.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation officials now believe Jacob Allen Bennett, 26, and Brittany Lina Yvonn Moser, 25, tried to rob two of the victims -- Rikki Danielle Jacobsen, 22, and Domonic Lewis Davis, 17 -- during a marijuana exchange.
Bennett was arrested Sept. 13, the day after the slayings, in Rhea County. He was charged Friday with four counts each of premeditated murder and felony murder and two counts of attempted aggravated robbery.
Moser is Bennett's girlfriend, according to a TBI release, and was with him at the time of the quadruple murder. She was arrested Friday morning at her home, 1872 Railroad St. in Dayton, Tenn, and indicted on four counts of felony murder and two counts of attempted aggravated robbery.
Cumberland County Sheriff Butch Burgess said Friday afternoon that local and state officials have been working the case hard since Sept. 12, when Jacobsen and Davis were found dead along with Steven Michael Presley, 17, and Jonathan Raymond Lajeunesse, 16, in Jacobsen's vehicle.
Burgess said the case is wholly unusual for Cumberland County, a golf and shopping hub.
"That's the first time [local, longtime residents] can ever remember that many being killed at one time," he said.
Having suspects from outside the county made it tougher, too.
"Most of the [usual crime suspects] here in our county, we know them," he said.
Burgess said police have known for some time that Moser was in nearby Dayton.
Moser's neighbors, though, didn't know she was a suspect in the notorious multiple slaying. That's what Charity Sneed Schutt, who lives across the street from Moser's place, said Friday.
"It is a shock because she seemed so nice and we never thought she would do this," Schutt said.
Burgess said the sheriff's department has been cautioning Cumberland County residents about irrational fears that they could be the next targets.
"We kind of just, generally, told them that it was not something they needed to be fearful of," he said, adding that the crime always seemed to have a personal connection rather than being a random act of gun violence.
He believes evidence is in the state's favor in the case against Bennett and Moser.
"We've got, we think, a real good case," he said.
Bennett and Moser are being held away from general population inmates at the Cumberland County Jail "for their own safety," Burgess said.
Contact staff writer Alex Green at email@example.com or 423-757-6731.
Alex joined the Times Free Press staff full-time in January 2014 as a region business reporter. He is a native of Dayton, Tenn., located 35 miles north of Chattanooga, and he is a fifth-generation Dayton native. Alex came to the Times Free Press as an editorial intern in July 2013. He was previously a correspondent at The Herald-News, located in Dayton, through college and editor-in-chief of the Triangle, Bryan College's student-led media group. Alex was ...