published Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Drug found in slain pastor's body

by Chris Carroll

Toxicology reports indicate that the Rev. David Strong's body tested positive for the main ingredient in marijuana, a finding consistent with the account of one man charged with killing the pastor.

Medical professionals found a chemical known as THC in a blood test performed three days after police found Strong's battered body sprawled inside his Glenwood Drive home Oct. 10. Strong was pastor at Chattanooga's St. Paul AME Church.

American Institute of Toxicology Laboratories conducted the test in Indianapolis. Toxicologists there could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon. But Vanderbilt University School of Medicine pathologist Sheila Dawling said the presence of THC in a blood sample indicates that the person likely had used marijuana fairly recently.

"It's not going to be somebody who smoked [marijuana] three weeks ago," Dawling said. "I think 24 hours would be pushing it."

In two jailhouse interviews, 25-year-old Antonio Henry told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that he and his teenage cousin Brendan Barnes smoked a "blunt" -- a marijuana cigar -- at Strong's house Oct. 4. He said the pastor then made unwanted sexual advances toward Henry, causing the pair to "snap."

Police have charged Henry and Barnes with first-degree murder and especially aggravated robbery.

But during a preliminary hearing Wednesday, Chattanooga Police Detective Michael Wenger said Henry told police he went to Strong's house to "make money" masturbating in front of the pastor. Wenger never said why a supposedly consensual visit with Strong turned into an hourlong attack on the pastor. There were no signs of forced entry to Strong's house.

Following the attack, Henry told police he stole the pastor's car, some money, a gold ring and a "dime bag of marijuana."

According to an autopsy report, Strong was stabbed 29 times and beaten with blunt force. Most of the stab wounds were between 3 and 5 inches deep, but one wound in Strong's neck went 6 inches deep.

The report states Oct. 10 as the "date of death," but a representative from the Hamilton County medical examiner's office said the date only represents when police notified the office.

The representative said "it's unknown" whether the pastor died quickly or lay wounded for some time. The report indicates there were signs of decomposition in the body.

Authorities have said the assault happened at least five days before police found Strong.

Still, in the jailhouse interviews, Henry said, "I really don't see how he died," maintaining that Strong was praying as the men left the residence.

"Maybe he lost too much blood or something, but he was breathing when I left," Henry said. "The man was not dead."

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Tax_Payer said...

But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.

Numbers 32:23

November 6, 2010 at 7 a.m.
rolando said...

Yes, indeed. It appears the good pastor may have had a darker side after all. The pot-smoking story held up...maybe the rest will, too.

November 6, 2010 at 7:15 a.m.
ceeweed said...

So what if the pastor was also a gay pothead? It hardly bolsters a defense for what these two thugs did. Gay rage? No. Marijuana induced psychosis? I don't think so. Was the pastor also a sinner? That one is easy to answer, he was human.

November 6, 2010 at 8:45 a.m.
eeeeeek said...

When she came there, The cupboard was bare, And so the poor dog had none.

OMH 1:2

November 6, 2010 at 9:45 a.m.
CCnshy said...

So many preachers with sinful secrets rea being exposed. Pastor Eddie Long of Atlanta is another one. These so-called men of GOD with these sinful lusts that they are acting on, cannot continue to fool the Church and preach GOD"s Word. Thier secrets will be revealed. It's sad that his sin had to be exposed at his death.

November 6, 2010 at 11:12 a.m.
Allison12 said...

The notion that pastors and priests are immune to human vices is ridicules. This really has no relationship to being brutally murdered even if the pastor asked for sex and used drugs, these men could have left. The drug use does speak to the fact that this pastor should not have been a mentor to young people, in a position of trust, or a role model. This pastors vices in no way justify being brutally murdered.

November 6, 2010 at 4:06 p.m.
morelove said...

Who without sin cast the first stone! There is no reason for someone to take someones life in the way that the two did. Noone can take away all the good things that Pastor Strong did in the community. Have anyone heard of second hand smoke? I would say a lot of things if I was in jail for MURDER! And that what they did They Murdered Another Human Being!

November 6, 2010 at 4:43 p.m.
fairmon said...

They should be executed quickly and any method used by the state will be less painful than the way they killed their victim. No evidence even slightly suggest a lesser penalty. A trial in this case is a waste of tax payers money putting on a legal system show. Execute them and get it over with.

Think about it. These two are suggesting their being solicited for sex, which I doubt, and drug use was why they committed murder. Now the defense is suggesting for those reasons it may be justified or at the very least saying they should not be executed. What a bunch of crap that is, they should be put to death immediately.

November 6, 2010 at 10:45 p.m.
realityrox said...

Why is it always the so called christians that call for the immediate deaths of a murderer?

Remember a few years ago when the Amish forgave the murderer of 5 school girls and injuries of 5 others. Even consoled the family members of the murderer.

Of course, even the Amish pick and choose also.

November 7, 2010 at 12:28 a.m.
CCnshy said...

I don't claim to justify Pastor Strong's death. He has to answer to GOD for his transgressions in life. These young thugs will also have to answer for their part in this man's murder. First by the earthly court, then by the Heavenly court. I truly hope the earthly court give these criminals their rightful punishment.

November 7, 2010 at 1:20 p.m.
Amos_Ives_Root said...

Its very relevant to anybody that has any knowledge of the law.

This line of defense, if successful, makes the crime manslaughter and not murder. They did not plan the murder or murder while in the midst of another crime.

November 7, 2010 at 2:23 p.m.
rolando said...

I presume you have never willingly been passionately kissed by a man, indian (assuming you are a hetrosexual male).

I can understand the physical revulsion one might feel should that happen to them without their consent. [No, it has never happened to me -- one needn't jump from a bridge to understand what happens when the fall ends.] I can even empathize with anyone it HAS happened to.

Now suppose the boy had been the pastor's target all along and the older friend knew how the pastor would corrupt him...and reacted in a passionate, unplanned rage. That doesn't excuse the continuing violence but it mitigates it. It might not even be considered murder...

On the other hand, the killer's actions could also be considered a "Depraved Heart Murder" due to the extreme atrocity of the violent act itself, intent to kill or not.

November 9, 2010 at 5:53 a.m.
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