Greene County, Tennessee: At 11:45 pm on Sunday, April 24, officers were called to a residence. When they arrived just after midnight, a 7-year-old boy and his 59-year-old grandmother were found deceased.
Sitting inside of a truck on the property, the suspect, identified at this time only as a 16-year-old boy that also resided at the residence, was found with a witness. Two other individuals, believed to be witnesses, were found in another nearby vehicle.
The boy was taken into custody and has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
The District Attorney's office quickly filed a notice of intent to transfer the case from the Juvenile Court system to the Green County Criminal Court and prosecute the boy as an adult.
"I think it's necessary to file to transfer him to an adult court," Green County District Attorney Dan Armstrong said. "That's the only punishment that meets the crime. Depending on what the grand jury returned as the charge, let's say they were to return two first-degree murder counts, at that point I would have the option of life without parole."
As the defendant is a juvenile, the death penalty would not be an option if the case is moved to adult court.
According to statements filed by Detective Jeff Davis, as seen by Law and Crime, the juvenile "stated he began planning to kill the victims earlier the same afternoon," and "admitted to striking the victim in the head with a hammer."
At this time however, a gag order issued by Judge Kenneth Bailey has been granted after the defense requested that additional details related to the case be withheld from the public. Court proceedings have also been closed to the public.
According to the Greenville Sun, a detention hearing was held for he defendant on Thursday, May 12. During that hearing, four witnesses testified and the court "found there was probable cause to believe the Juvenile committed the offenses" and ordered him to be detained.
A status hearing has been scheduled for July 19, 2022 with a transfer haring scheduled or August 23, 2022.
The victims have been identified as 7-year-old Jessie Allen, a second grader at Fall Branch Elementary School, and 59-year-old Sherry Cole.
Fall Branch Elementary established a fund raiser for Bill Cole, who they identified as Jessie's grandfather, in hopes of offsetting some of the funeral costs. As of Wednesday, April 27, the school had raised nearly $2,000.