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UPDATE: Fall Branch man charged with triple murder in slayings of Gray couple, unborn child

Becky Campbell • Updated Dec 18, 2017 at 1:11 PM

UPDATE: Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal announced the arrest of Derrick Benjamin Sells of Fall Branch in the murders of a couple and their unborn child.

Robert Aaron Vaughn, 25, and his wife, Kyanna Howes Vaughn, 23, were found dead around 7 p.m. Dec. 4 by friends who went to check on the couple. The Vaughns were found shot to death inside their mobile home at 616 Friendship Court. Sheriff Ed Graybeal reported that two children, ages 3 and 6, were found in the mobile home unharmed.

Investigators said Kyanna Howes was six months pregnant when she was killed.

In a news conference, Graybeal said Washington County investigators and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents identified Sells after learning that he and Robert Vaughn had been communicating with each other the night of the shootings.

Sells is charged with three counts of 1st degree murder, 3 counts of felony murder, unlawful possession of a weapon, especially aggravated robbery and aggravated child neglect.

On Dec. 9, after developing Sells as the prime suspect, Washington County investigators worked with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office to conduct surveillance on Sells. Sells was had active warrant for violation of probation from Sullivan County out for his arrest and was stopped in a traffic stop and arrested by the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies found that he had a handgun under the driver’s seat. He was charged in Sullivan County with violation of probation, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and simple possession of marijuana. He was jailed in Sullivan County without bond.

Following Sells arrest, Investigators served a search warrant at 400 Branch Road in Fall Branch, Sell’s home at the time. Investigators seized several items related to the homicides.  Investigators submitted several items of evidence to the TBI lab for testing.

Graybeal said shortly after the discovery that investigators were confident that the shooting was not a domestic situation between the couple.

Deputies went to the mobile home, which is located near Oak Grove Road and Blue Friday Road, after a friend of the couple went to check on them after not hearing from them in two days. Sheriff’s office criminal investigators responded to the scene, and Graybeal also called the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to assist in the investigation.

Graybeal confirmed that two young children in the home witnessed the killings.

With assistance from District Attorney Tony Clark, a special grand jury was convened Tuesday morning in order to present the Sheriff’s Office’s case for Sells’ indictment.

Sells was booked into the Washington County Detention Center and held on $1 million bond pending an arraignment in Criminal Court.

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Earlier:

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office announced a press conference for this afternoon regarding the latest developments in the homicides of a couple and their unborn child.

Robert Aaron Vaughn, 25, and his wife, Kyanna Howes Vaughn, 23, were found dead around 7 p.m. Dec. 4 by friends who went to check on the couple. The Vaughns were found shot to death inside their mobile home at 616 Friendship Court. Sheriff Ed Graybeal reported that two children, ages 3 and 6, were found in the mobile home unharmed.

Investigators said Kyanna Howes was six months pregnant when she was killed.

Graybeal said shortly after the discovery that investigators were confident that the shooting was not a domestic situation between the couple. No motive had been established for the killings.

Deputies went to the mobile home, which is located near Oak Grove Road and Blue Friday Road, after a friend of the couple went to check on them after not hearing from them in two days. Sheriff’s office criminal investigators responded to the scene, and Graybeal also called the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to assist in the investigation.

The press conference is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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