Four people are dead and two others are behind bars in McMinn County, Tennessee, after a dispute Saturday over a 10-month-old child that the sheriff said led to a homicide that he called one of the county's worst ever.
Jazzmine Jacole Hall, 26, of Athens, Tennessee, and Curtis Donnell Smith, 38, of Etowah, Tennessee, are each charged with four counts of first-degree murder and felony murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder. They are charged in the slayings of Trevon Hall, 36, Skylar Hawn, 24, Jesse Dupree, 40, and Brandi Harris, 39, according to a news release from the McMinn County Sheriff's Office.
The defendants are being held without bond and do not have lawyers on record, McMinn County General Sessions Court officials said.
The slayings happened in the Riceville community sometime before 9 a.m. Saturday at a home on sparsely populated County Road 60, a mile-long road that crosses Rogers Creek Ridge west of Interstate 75.
McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy placed the events among the worst in McMinn County history.
Deputies answering the call Saturday found two witnesses who reportedly escaped the shooting and directed officers to the home where the shots were fired, authorities said.
Officers found the man and three women shot dead inside the home.
"It appears that there were initially six people present at the residence," Guy said in the news release.
"When a male suspect and a female suspect arrived after 8 a.m., there was some kind of dispute that took place between the female suspect and the male victim over a 10-month-old whom they are the parents of," Guy said. "At some point the dispute turned violent, and the four victims were shot. One witness escaped, and the other pretended to be injured and survived."
Jazzmine Hall and Smith then took the child and fled, authorities said. The baby is the child of Jazzmine Hall and victim Trevon Hall, Guy said Monday.
Deputies and detectives teamed with members of the 10th Judicial District Attorneys Office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to collect evidence at the scene while other deputies, members of the local district drug task force and the U.S. Marshals Service tracked Jazzmine Hall and Smith to Polk County on Saturday night.
The pair was taken into custody with assistance from county SWAT team members and Polk County authorities, according to authorities.
The baby was taken to a local emergency room for examination and later turned over to the Tennessee Department of Children's Services, Guy said.
Guy praised the efforts of investigators as the probe continues.
The sheriff said Saturday was a challenging day for the community "and our prayers continue to be with the families of the victims of this terrible incident."
Contact Ben Benton at email@example.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.