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This story was updated Sept. 5, 2018, at 6:32 p.m. with more information and again at 11:55 p.m. with a more recent mugshot.

A man was charged with homicide Tuesday after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said it had matched his shoe to bloody prints found at the scene of a slaying.

Gary McPherson was last seen on the afternoon of July 22, a Sunday. His body was found the next evening at his home in the 5400 block of School Street in Ooltewah, lying in a pool of blood in the middle of his living room floor, court records show.

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Rodney Gearing

A family member had gone to check on him that evening and found a broken window in the back of the house.

While the incident took place within the Chattanooga Police Department's jurisdiction, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office took over the investigation because McPherson was the brother of retired Assistant Chief Edwin McPherson, police spokesman Rob Simmons said.

Because of that relationship, Chattanooga police contacted the district attorney's office about the handling of the investigation, and the DA assigned it to the sheriff's office, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office confirmed.

Glass from a broken table was found under and around McPherson's body. A bloody shoe print was on one of the shards of glass, and several more were tracked onto laminate flooring throughout the house, court records state.

Two witnesses told detectives they saw Rodney Gearing the night of the slaying on July 22, some time between 10 p.m. and midnight. They said he had a small pistol and had injuries to his left arm and ear that were severe enough to need bandaging.

Gearing later tried to sell that pistol, which matched the description of a pistol that belonged to McPherson and was missing from his home, according to court records.

Detectives found Gearing on the night of July 23 and took him to the sheriff's office for questioning, but he requested an attorney.

Reddish-brown stains were noticed on Gearing's clothing, so it was collected to be sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, along with his shoes and phone, court records state.

On Tuesday, after almost exactly six weeks, local detectives received the TBI's report matching Gearing's shoe to the bloody prints found at the scene. Six weeks is relatively quick for that type of analysis, a TBI spokesman said, but that's not including the DNA analysis of the blood itself.

Gearing was found later Tuesday evening in the 8100 block of Old Cleveland Pike, exactly half a mile from where McPherson's body was found, and taken into custody. He has been charged with criminal homicide and is being held on a $750,000 bond.

Gearing has an arrest record in Hamilton County dating back to 2000, according to online court records. Almost all of his charges are for burglaries, aggravated robbery and an assault.

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

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