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TBI: Morgan man indicted for Fentress murder

An investigation by the TBI has resulted in the indictment of a Morgan County man on murder and arson charges.

In December of last year, the TBI was called in by the 8th District Attorney General’s office to assist Tennessee Fire Protective Services and the Fentress County Sheriff’s Office in their investigation of a residential fire that had occurred on December 2nd in the Grimsley community of Fentress County. After the fire was extinguished, fire crews discovered the body of Melissa Durham inside.

In a release, the TBI says that during the course of their investigation, agents “developed information that led them to identify 47-year-old Johnathan Donavan Smith as the individual responsible for Durham’s death, and that Smith had intentionally started the fire.

Investigators have not released the cause of Durham’s death, and there has been no word on whether she was dead when the fire started.

Tuesday, the Fentress County grand jury indicted Smith on one count of second-degree murder and one count of aggravated arson. He was served with those indictments Tuesday afternoon at the Fentress County Jail, where he was already in custody on unrelated charges.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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