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Photo contributed by the Walker County Sheriffs Office / GBI special agent Daniel Nicholson, Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson, Walker County Chief Deputy Major Mike Freeman and GBI special agent in charge Joe Montgomery at Saturday afternoon's news conference in Walker County.

Law enforcement officials believe they have closed a Walker County killing that went unsolved for more than two decades, after the arrest of a suspect Friday night by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

In the early morning hours of Dec. 22, 1994, James Harris of Chickamauga was found dead on the ground near his pickup truck at the end of his driveway.

Harris had stopped to close his driveway gate and was ambushed, investigators said, adding that Harris was known to carry a lot of cash on him and they believed he was being robbed when he was killed.

Harris' revolver was recovered at the scene and had been fired twice, but investigators were unable to determine when. Harris was 54 when he died.

On Friday night, law enforcement officers arrested 50-year-old Tullahoma resident Robert Allen Mowry in Nashville.

Joe Montgomery, a special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said investigators got a tip from Crime Stoppers in 2009 that narrowed the case's scope.

Mowry worked with Harris at Miller Industries in Ooltewah, Tennessee.

Chief Deputy Major Mike Freeman with the Walker County Sheriffs Office had been a detective for the department for one month when Harris was found dead. He has worked the case ever since. At Saturday's news conference, Freeman was emotional, saying he was at a loss for words at what the arrest meant to him and the families affected by the killing.

Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said the arrest was a team effort among several agencies, including the Nashville Police Department, the Coffee County Sheriff's Office, the Tullahoma Police Department, Chattanooga Police Department and several others.

Mowry is being charged with one count of malice murder and is being held in the Davidson County Jail.

Contact Patrick Filbin at pfilbin@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFilbin.

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