Hamilton County grand jury indicts man in 2012 cold case murder

Hamilton County grand jury indicts man in 2012 cold case murder

August 21st, 2019 by Rosana Hughes in Breaking News

This story was updated at 5:07 p.m. on Wed., Aug. 21, with more information.

Justin Anthony Thurman

Justin Anthony Thurman

A Hamilton County grand jury has indicted a man in connection to the 2012 cold case homicide of 25-year-old Leslie Townsend.

The grand jury issued the indictment on Tuesday, charging Justin Anthony Thurman, 29, with first-degree felony murder and attempted especially aggravated robbery.

Townsend was shot and killed on Oct. 8, 2012, while sitting in a parked car on East 14th Street.

An initial investigation led to the arrest of Shermaine Menifee, though the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office later dropped the charges because of insufficient evidence in witness interviews and physical evidence.

(Read more: Murder charge to be dropped in 2012 death)

District Attorney Neal Pinkston said he couldn't discuss too many details about the case, but did say an "internal discord within the Gangster Disciples" led to the homicide.

The district attorney's office cold case unit later took up the case and, after reviewing the case file, determined that there was enough evidence to link Thurman to the homicide.

A warrant has been issued for Thurman's arrest, and the Chattanooga Police Department and other law enforcement agencies are actively looking for him in this area.

Including Townsend's killing, the cold case unit claims to have closed 20 cold cases. However, Thurman remains to be tried in court. There are about 160 cases still open, the oldest of which dates back to 1972. The oldest solved case dates back to 1918.

Anyone having any information on Thurman's whereabouts is urged to call the Cold Case Hotline at 423-209-7470, or the Chattanooga Police Department at 423-698-2525.

Contact Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.


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