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Public Notices

April 16, 2014

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4th Suspect Is Charged In Man's 2011 Murder

Originally published: 2013-02-20 10:38:36
Last modified: 2013-02-20 10:41:25
 


BY KEN LITTLE

STAFF WRITER

A fourth suspect in the 2011 murder of former Rheatown resident Gary A. Couch Jr. was taken into custody Feb. 15 by the Johnson City Police Department.

Anthony Phillips, 29, no address listed, was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Couch, Johnson City police Sgt. Don Shepard said Tuesday in a news release.

Couch, of Stone Dam Road, was shot to death on July 30, 2011. His body was found underneath Interstate 26 on Quarry Road near South Road Street in Johnson City.

Phillips had an appearance Friday in Washington County Criminal Court on unrelated charges and was served with a presentment charging him with the murder count.

He is being held in the Washington County Detention Center on $100,000 bond on the charge.

Two women, 28-year-old Ginger Holtsclaw and 29-year-old Ashley Harold, were charged earlier this month with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Couch

Both are held in the Washington County Detention Center on $100,000 bond each.

A third defendant, Justin "Puff" Stratton, 33, was charged with murder and other offenses soon after the death of Couch and is currently awaiting trial.

He remains in custody in the Washington County Detention Center, held on $181,000 bond.

Couch, of Stone Dam Road, was shot multiple times and robbed, police said.

Stratton, of 1500 Bell Ridge Road, Johnson City, is also charged with one count of especially aggravated robbery.

Johnson City police Detective Kevin Peters said after Stratton's arrest that the defendant "set the victim up to rob him at the location that his body was found" and took Couch's wallet and other personal items.

Couch was last seen leaving Newman's Billiards, at 225 East Main St. in Johnson City, about 3:05 a.m. on July 30, 2011.

Stratton was also charged in connection with a July 30, 2011, burglary and theft of two vehicles from Reliable Motors, 528 W. Market St., Johnson City.

Two sets of car keys and a camera were stolen from the building. The keys belonged to two vehicles that were stolen, a black 1994 Mercedes-Benz S500 and a white 2002 Ford Expedition.

Peters said that the stolen Ford Expedition was used in the shooting and murder of Couch.

 
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