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UPDATE: Unicoi county man accused in deaths of 2 sisters arrested in North Carolina

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Oct 11, 2017 at 11:23 PM

ERWIN — A 63-year-old Unicoi County man has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of two women Wednesday morning at a home in the Lower Higgins Creek community near Flag Pond.

Clyde William Banner, 953 Lower Higgins Creek Road, is scheduled for arraignment on the charges Thursday morning in Unicoi County Sessions Court.

Banner was arrested in Madison County, North Carolina, Wednesday afternoon and was expected to be transported back to Unicoi County late Wednesday night.

Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said Banner had waived extradition from North Carolina, where he was picked up on a fugitive from justice warrant issued during a three-hour manhunt that followed the shootings.

According to Hensley, sisters Donna Jones, 34, and Amy Jones, 29, were killed just after 10 a.m. in the living room of the home at 953 Lower Higgins Creek Road where they lived with Banner and their mother.

Hensley said a neighbor entered the residence after hearing gunfire and saw Banner shoot a shotgun in the living room of the home. The sheriff said the neighbor ran out of the house and Banner followed, screaming, “I’ll kill everyone of you all,” before leaving the area in his pickup truck.

Multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and North Carolina’s State Bureau of Investigation, assisted in the search, which concluded without incident around 1:30 p.m in Madison County, where Banner’s truck was spotted at a convenience market.

Hensley said the motive for the killings and the location of the weapon are still under investigation.

Temple Hill Elementary School near the home and other Unicoi County schools were placed under lockdown throughout the search for Banner, and Hensley commended school officials for helping law enforcement and Department of Children’s Services officials console the children of one of the shooting victims.

According to the sheriff, Donna Jones was the mother of five children, who were placed in the care of other family members Wednesday afternoon.

Hensley also commended the county’s 911 employees for coordinating search information between the two states and Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood for his assistances in Banner’s arrest and extradition back to Tennessee.

Reported Earlier

ERWIN - Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley confirmed at 1:20 p.m. on Wednesday the man accused in a double homicide on Lower Higgins Creek Road has been taken into custody in Madison County, N.C.

According to police radio communications, Clyde Willian Banner’s vehicle was spotted at a Triangle Market in Hot Springs, N.C., about 30 minutes prior to his arrest. 

Hensley, who was en route to Madison County at the time of Banner’s arrest, said he will be charged with two counts of first degree. The killings at a residence at 953 Lower Higgins Creek Road were reported to authorities about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Reported earlier:

According to the sheriff, William Banner, 63, was last seen leaving 953 Lower Higgins Creek Road, where the bodies of two people were found, headed toward the Old Asheville Highway. He is driving a rusty red or primer colored, 1980s model, full-size Chevrolet pickup truck.

Hensley did not give a motive for the killing, nor whether Banner had relationships with the people found dead.

He did advise residents in the area to lock their doors. Police are considering Banner armed and extremely dangerous.

Nearby Temple Hill Elementary School was placed on lockdown while deputies search for him.

Dispatchers relayed Banner’s description to agencies in Northeast Tennessee and Western North Carolina, hoping to track him down quickly.

Hensley said agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and a representative from the district attorney’s office are at the scene on Lower Higgins Creek.

The road is closed to traffic during the investigation.

Banner’s Facebook page lists him as “Clyde Banner.”

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Reported earlier:

The Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department has closed a rural road after an incident at a residence and called for a crime scene investigator.

According to emergency radio traffic, Lower Higgins Creek Road is closed and officers are looking for a rusty red colored pickup truck with no tailgate that left the scene of an apparent crime at the home at 953.

Unicoi Sheriff Mike Hensley said on his radio that the person police are looking for is armed and dangerous.

Check back here later for more information on this developing story.

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