Triple murder case set for December 2019 trial

Becky Campbell • Nov 8, 2018 at 7:14 PM

A Washington County man charged with killing a couple and their unborn child in front of their two young children will be tried in their deaths next year.

Derrick Benjamin Sells, 34, appeared in Washington County Criminal Court Thursday with his two court-appointed attorneys, Steve Finney and Scott Shults. In keeping with a court order, Sells — who remains in jail on a $1 million bond — appeared in court in street clothes. His attorneys had asked for that, and Judge Lisa Rice granted it, to help deter any potential jurors developing negative perceptions of Sells as his case proceeds through the court system.

Sells was arrested Dec. 18 after a special grand jury returned a 10-count indictment that charged him in the shooting deaths of Kyanna Howes Vaughn, 23, and Robert Aaron Vaughn, 25. The two were found dead around 7 p.m. Dec. 4 by a friend who went to check on them. That friend found the Vaughns dead inside their mobile home on Friendship Court.

Kyanna Vaughn was seven months pregnant when she was killed, according to investigators.

The indictment charged Sells with three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of felony murder (murder in the commission of a felony), unlawful possession of a weapon, one count of especially aggravated robbery and two counts of aggravated child abuse/neglect.

Investigators said the child neglect charges stemmed from Sells leaving the Vaughns’ two young children alone after the slayings.

During the hearing Thursday, Rice set the case for trial Dec. 9-13, 2019. Jury selection will be held on Dec. 6, 2019. Rice also set two motion hearings for Jan.16 and June 6.

Recommended for You

    Johnson City Press Videos