Man charged in April slaying in Franklin County

photo Robert Troy Whipple
photo Bridgette Haley

Investigators in Franklin County, Tenn., have been waiting since April to hear if Robert Troy Whipple, 47, would be charged with murder after a woman was found beaten to death in the passenger seat of his car.

On Monday, a grand jury came through with the charges: one count of first-degree murder, one count of felony murder and one count of especially aggravated kidnapping, according to a news release from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Franklin County Sheriff Tim Fuller said it's a relief for the case to finally reach a conclusion.

"I'm glad that we're able to finally build a charge on this case," he said.

On April 27, Whipple led officers on a car and foot chase around Franklin County, eventually slashing one officer with a knife before police apprehended him. It was then that they found 46-year-old Bridgette Haley's remains in Whipple's car. It appeared she had been beaten to death.

Initially authorities could not charge Whipple with murder because they were unable to establish the location where the death occurred.

Instead, Whipple was charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest, evading law enforcement, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of drugs, according to previous Times Free Press reports. He was taken to jail on $1 million bond.

Fuller said that, with these new charges, the bond has been revoked.

He said the question of where the slaying occurred is still unanswered.

"The venue issue to my knowledge is still not resolved," he said. "I do not know if it will ever be resolved."

He said that despite the issue of venue, it was decided they could press forward with murder and kidnapping charges.

District 12 Attorney General Michael Taylor said he hopes the charges will help the family find closure, as well.

"I'm sure that it's a good thing for the family," he said. "I'm sure they're well satisfied to know the charges have been brought."

Fuller said Whipple's arraignment date is set for 9 a.m. on Nov. 14 in Franklin County Circuit Court.

Contact staff writer Hannah Smith at or at 423-757-6731.