BY KEN LITTLE
Greene County Criminal Court arraignments scheduled Friday for three defendants charged in connection with the March killings of Cortney Thompson and Terrence Stewart were continued to Nov. 30, court officials said.
Charged with first-degree murder are James Douglas Black, 50; Christopher Allen Jones, 31; and Tabitha N. Whitlock, 32.
Indictments in the cases of the three defendants were not handed up this week by a Greene County Grand Jury. The next time the grand jury meets is late November, court officials said.
Black, Jones and Whitlock are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
Thompson, 20, and Stewart, 21, died late on the night of March 10 or early March 11.
Their bodies were left on a dirt road under the Nolichucky River bridge and found the morning of March 11, investigators said.
Statements by the accused indicate that the victims were shot as they rode in Thompson's car on the Newport Highway just inside the Greene County line, near Cocke County. Prosecutors agree.
Drugs and money are the apparent motivating factors for a robbery that resulted in the deaths of Thompson and Stewart, authorities said.
The victims were former Newport residents who moved back to Cocke County just before their deaths. They knew the defendants, according to statements given to investigators.
Whitlock, Black and Jones are Cocke County residents.
The suspected location of the shootings resulted in the prosecution of the defendants in Greene County.
Black and Whitlock remain in custody in the Greene County Detention Center. Jones is held in the Cocke County Jail.