Seventh and final suspect in custody in the 2017 killing of man found shot and hanged from tree in Franklin County, Tennessee

Seventh and final suspect in custody in the 2017 killing of man found shot and hanged from tree in Franklin County, Tennessee

February 14th, 2019 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News

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The seventh and final suspect is in custody in the October 2017 killing of a Tullahoma, Tennessee, man who was found shot and hanged from a tree in neighboring Franklin County.

Fourteenth Judicial District Attorney General Craig Northcott, whose office prosecutes cases in Coffee County where the incident began, confirmed that 45-year-old Miguel Sanders is in custody at the Putnam County Jail in Cookeville related to the death of 33-year-old David Edward Steele.

Sanders faces charges of first-degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping, tampering with evidence, coercion of a witness and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, Northcott said.

"Miguel Sanders is the last one," Northcott said. "We've got them all at this point."

Sanders had been booked in Putnam County on a warrant for failing to appear in court on an evading arrest charge, Putnam County Sheriff's Office investigator Maj. Terry Hembree said Thursday.

Steele was found Oct. 26, 2017, hanging from a tree just inside Franklin County.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and local authorities found Steele's body in the area of Spring Creek Road and UTSI Road — named for the University of Tennessee Space Institute — as part of a missing person investigation into Steele's disappearance. He had been reported missing on Oct. 3, 2017, according to 2017 reports in the Tullahoma News newspaper.

Tullahoma police investigated Steele's disappearance after a woman reported that Steele had been shot near Dossett Apartments in Tullahoma, according to the newspaper's account. Steele's father told police he last spoke with his son on Aug. 16.

The ensuing investigation finally led to initial charges against four people in December. By early February two others had been charged, and now the seventh suspect in Steele's death is in custody, according to officials.

Those already in Coffee County custody on charges similar to Sanders' are Bruce Edward Dorsett Jr., 32; Shawna R. Haney, 44; Voltaire Xavier Hickerson, 38; Michael Andrew Taylor, 32; Bryan Dudley, 38. Jamie Wilson Holland, 38, is charged with aggravated kidnapping, tampering with evidence and coercion of a witness.

Northcott and 12th Judicial District Attorney General Mike Taylor, who represents Franklin County, worked together to decide that the venue for prosecuting the case would be Coffee County.

Coffee County Circuit Court officials said the first six defendants now in custody have an upcoming court date on Feb. 27.

Sanders does not have a Coffee County court date yet, officials said.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.


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