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Tennessee fugitive wanted in killing of deputy caught after dayslong manhunt: Authorities

Blount County Sheriff’s Office

(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) — A murder suspect wanted in the fatal shooting of a Tennessee deputy has been caught following a nearly weeklong manhunt, authorities said.


Kenneth DeHart was detained in Knoxville on Tuesday, the Blount County Sheriff’s Office said on social media while sharing a photo of a large police presence outside a residence.

The 42-year-old fugitive was wanted on first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder charges in connection with the shooting of two Blount County deputies on Thursday, state police said. He also faces one count of being a felon in possession of a weapon.

The shooting occurred during a traffic stop in Maryville Thursday evening, the Blount County Sheriff’s Office said. “Erratic driving” prompted the stop, authorities said. Blount County deputy Greg McCowan, 43, was killed and deputy Shelby Eggers, 22, was shot in the leg, the sheriff’s office said. She has since been released from an area hospital.

More than $100,000 in reward money was being offered for information leading to the fugitive’s arrest, according to the Blount County Sheriff’s Office. That includes a $40,000 reward offered by Smith & Wesson, a firearm manufacturer headquartered in Maryville.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation had posted billboards across the Southeast region amid the search for the suspect, who was on the agency’s most-wanted list.

Maryville is located about 17 miles south of Knoxville.

In the wake of the shooting, the suspect’s brother and girlfriend were arrested in connection with the case on the charge of accessory after the fact, according to officials and court documents.

The suspect’s brother — Marcus DeHart, 41 — was taken into custody Friday “for aiding the defendant after the commission of the homicide,” Blount County District Attorney General Ryan Desmond said during a press briefing. He is being held on a $1 million bond.

His attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf and argued that the bond was “excessive” during a court appearance on Monday. A bond hearing in his case has been scheduled for Thursday.

The suspect’s girlfriend — Carrie Matthews, 32 — was also booked into custody in Sevier County after local deputies interviewed her about Kenneth DeHart’s whereabouts, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. While being interviewed at her residence Thursday night, Matthews took a call from someone purportedly named “Janeisha” who was later determined to actually be Kenneth DeHart, according to the affidavit. Matthews allegedly told the caller, “They’re here,” which the affiant claimed warned Kenneth DeHart “of impending apprehension or discovery,” according to the affidavit.

She was released from custody on Monday after a judge granted the request for a $350,000 bond with GPS monitors, according to ABC Knoxville affiliate WATE.

Attorney information for Matthews was not immediately available.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

 

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