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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
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Update: Son, 2 others charged in Roan Mountain double-murder, arson

February 25th, 2013 9:00 am by John Thompson

Update: Son, 2 others charged in Roan Mountain double-murder, arson

ELIZABETHTON — An 8-month investigation into the murders of Joyce Brock, 61, and Russell Glenn Shell, 54, resulted in the arrests of three men, including Shell’s on, on Sunday on murder charges.
Jonathan Scott Shell, 22, Roan Mountain, is the son on Glenn Shell. He is charged with two counts of first degree murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit first degree murder, two counts of tampering with evidence, and aggravated arson.
Jeffrey Lynn Whitehead, 51, Roan Mountain, is married to Glenn Shell’s ex-wife. He is charged with two counts of first degree murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit first degree murder, two counts of tampering with evidence and aggravated arson.
Tyler Daniel Shell, 20, Trade, is not related to the other Shells. He is charged with two counts of murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit first degree murder.
Brock and Shell were found dead in the burned garage at 120 Hemlock Lane in the Hampton Creek community of Roan Mountain on June 26, 2012.
Sheriff Chris Mathes said autopsies revealed Brock had been shot once in the throat and a second time in the head. Shell was found with one gunshot wound to the head. The bodies had been soaked with gasoline and set afire.
“It was a horrible scene,” Mathes said during a press conference announcing details of the three arrests on Monday. He said drugs may have been a motive behind the murders. Marijuana plants and other drugs were found.
Whitehead is the only one of the three to have an extensive criminal record, Mathes said. In 2010, the sheriff’s department placed drug and cocaine charges on him. Mathes said a “very active moonshine still” was also found.
Mathes said the investigation of the murders was long and complex. Lt. Michael Little said 50 to 60 people were interviewed during the investigation, some several times.
The investigation also range to several states. Mathes said Tyler Shell joined the military after the murders and officers went to Fort Sill, Okla. to interview him. The sheriff said the Army Criminal Investigations Division aided in the case.
Several weapons were seized during the investigation. Mathes said the bullets from the fatal shootings have also been recovered.
Mathes said the reason Brock and Shell were living in their garage is because they had been burned out of their home 20 days earlier. Brock and Shell were in their home at 3:30 a.m. when Shell said he heard someone attempting to break in.
Shell told deputies that when the man failed to get inside, the next thing he noticed was the smell of diesel fuel. Then he saw flames consuming the wooden deck and a line of flames leading back to the yard.
In that first case, Shell woke Brock and they were able to escape. After the house burned, they moved into their garage with plans to rebuild the house.
Mathes said the men arrested on Sunday have not been charged in the earlier attack.
Jonathan Shell and Whitehead remain in the Carter County Jail. Tyler Shell has been released under a $10,000 bond.
The arrests were all made on Sunday. Mathes said his department and its Special Weapons and Tactics Team was aided by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessee Bomb and Arson Investigation, the Tennessee Highway Patrol Special Operations Team and Aviation Team.
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Update filed at 3:09 p.m.:
Three men have been charged with killing a Roan Mountain couple in their garage last year. Among those charged was the deceased man's son.
Jonathan Scott Shell, 22, and Jeffrey Lynn Whitehead, 51, both of Roan Mountain, and Tyler Daniel Shell, 20, Trade, were each charged with two counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the deaths of Glenn Shell and Joyce Brock.
Jonathan Scott Shell is Glenn Shell's son, and Whitehead is married to the dead man's former wife. Tyler Daniel Shell apparently was not related to the deceased.
Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes released the names in a press conference this afternoon, having announced the arrests late Sunday. The arrests resulted from a joint Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Carter County Sheriff’s Office investigation.
Jonathan Scott Shell and Whitehead also were charged with tempering with evidence and aggravated arson.
The murder investigation has began on June 26, 2012, when the bodies of Glenn Shell and Brock were found in the ashes of the garage at 120 Hemlock Lane, in the Hampton Creek Community. Brock and Shell had lived in the garage since their home on the same property was burned on June 6.
Keep visiting JohnsonCityPress.com for updates.
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Earlier report filed at 12:02 a.m. Monday:
ELIZABETHTON — The Carter County Sheriff's Department announced late Sunday night that three arrests have been made in the arson-related killings of Glenn Shell and Joyce Brock.

The identities of the three were not immediately released. Sheriff Chris Mathes said information on the arrests would be provided at press conference this afternoon.

The murder investigation has began on June 26, 2012, when the bodies of Shell and Brock were found in the ashes of the garage at 120 Hemlock Lane, in the Hampton Creek Community. Brock and Shell had lived in the garage since their home on the same property was burned on June 6.

Shell had told investigators after the June 6 fire that he and Brock were inside their home at 3:30 a.m., when Shell said he heard someone attempting to break in.

Shell said that when the man failed to get inside, the next thing he noticed was the smell of diesel fuel. Then he saw flames consuming the wooden deck and a line of flames leading back to the yard.

In that first case of arson, Shell woke Brock and they were able to escape. After the house burned, they moved into their garage with plans to rebuild the house.

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