logo



2017: Homicide in the greater Johnson City area

Johnson City Press • Dec 31, 2017 at 12:06 AM

A three-county region in Northeast Tennessee saw 10 homicides in 2017, with victims ranging in age from 3 to 89.

Feb. 27. Ricina Blaire Patrick, 29, was arrested Feb. 27 in Erwin and charged in the stabbing death of Ricky Price, 55, 326 Tipton St., where the couple lived together. Erwin police and Unicoi County sheriff’s deputies found Price sitting on a porch and with multiple stab wounds and being attended to by a man and woman at a residence around the corner from where Price lived. They told officers that a woman had gone around the back of the house. Price told officers it was Patrick who stabbed him. Price later died at Unicoi County Memorial Hospital.

May 27. Officers responded to a missing child around 10 a.m. May 27 at Meadowbrook Trailer Park in Elizabethton. A woman told officers her 3-year-old son apparently got outside when she went to the bathroom and was missing. An officer found the child floating face down in the middle of nearby Buffalo Creek. The boy had drowned and efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. An investigation by the Elizabethton Police Department eventually led to the mother’s arrest on a first-degree murder charge. Tabitha Michelle Sword, 35, was arrested Nov. 7 after a grand jury indicted her on a murder charge that related to a child neglect incident.

July 14. The day before 89-year-old Mary Nolen was attacked inside her Hunter community home, Carter County officers said she  still lived alone, cleaned her own house and drove herself to do errands. But when Nolen’s granddaughter found the older woman on July 14, she had been beaten around her head and neck. Nolen was found on her bed, which was stripped of its linens, unable to move or speak clearly. Her granddaughter interpreted grunts Nolen made as a cry for help. Nolen died July 26, and an autopsy report indicated her death was due to complications of blunt-force trauma to the head and neck. A neighbor of Nolen’s, 44-year-old Chad Anthony Benfield was arrested Aug. 11 and charged with the woman’s murder.

July 24. Stacy Magee, 22, was shot to death at point-blank range July 24 as she sat in her car at a Johnson City public housing apartment building waiting for a friend to whom she’d given a ride, police said. Magee was shot to death in a public place with people around, but her killer drove away without being stopped, police said. Her infant daughter was in a car seat in the back seat of the car when the woman was shot. The child was not injured. Police said Magee was several weeks pregnant at the time she was killed. No arrests have been made.

Sept. 6. A teenager fatally stabbed his mother’s boyfriend, who got into an argument with the boy’s mother, police said. Matthew Dye, 19, was charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Gary Taylor, 41, at a Johnson City residence Sept. 6. Police responded around 1:20 a.m. finding Taylor lying in the yard at 222 E. Maple St. with a single stab wound to his back. Dye ran from the scene after the stabbing, but patrol officers soon found him at the Quality Inn parking lot on South Roan Street.

Oct. 11. Clyde William Banner, 63, 293 Lower Higgins Creek Road, Flag Pond, was arrested in Madison County, North Carolina, on Oct. 11 after allegedly killing his girlfriend’s two daughters with a borrowed gun and fleeing Tennessee. He was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of sisters Amy B. Jones, 29, and Donna K. Jones, 34, inside the home where they lived with their mother, Teresa Jones, and Banner.

Dec. 3. 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 at their Oak Grove-area residence. 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. Authorities arrested and charged Derrick Benjamin Sells, 33, of Fall Branch, after he was indicted on Dec. 18 on three counts of felony murder, three counts of premeditated murder, unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, especially aggravated robbery and aggravated child neglect.

Recommended for You

    Johnson City Press Videos