MADISONVILLE, Tenn. - A detective says the woman accused of shooting a man in the head and then burning his body was just a source of information for investigators at first, but they became suspicious when she knew a few too many details about the crime.
"We talked to her several times, and often she had that one kernel of key information. How did that happen?" Detective Doug Brannon, lead investigator for the Monroe County Sheriff's Department, testified Wednesday.
Jessica Kennedy is charged with felony murder, aggravated robbery, abuse of a corpse and arson in the death of Jim Miller, chairman of the Monroe County Election Commission. His burned body was found in the trunk of a car on July 17, 2010.
In his testimony, Brannon said one detail Kennedy mentioned especially stood out. When Miller's burned body was discovered in the trunk of the car, his feet were oddly placed with his soles flat against the wall of the trunk.
"They would have had to be rolled down in order to close the trunk," Brannon said. "So it struck me when Jessica Kennedy said she had to push his feet down. I don't know how anyone could gather that detail without being there."
During the investigation, Kennedy at first said she didn't have anything to do with the killing, later confessed to it, and then went back to her original statement.
In several statements to investigators, Kennedy said she believed members of the Monroe County Sheriff's Department were involved in Miller's death and specifically mentioned Detective Mike Morgan and Sheriff Bill Bivens.
On Wednesday, defense attorney John Eldridge questioned lead Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent Bill Brakebill about whether he followed up on those statements.
Brakebill said "no."
"I did not have any information at any time that indicated Mike Morgan or the sheriff were involved in Jim Miller's death," Brakebill responded.
Later in the day, 10th Judicial Assistant District Attorney Jim Stutts called Bivens to the stand where the sheriff said he was professionally acquainted with Miller, but didn't know him personally.
Under cross-examination, Eldridge asked Bivens if he had suggested the Monroe County Sheriff's Department take a secondary role in the investigation because members of his staff had been implicated in the crime.
"I may have," Bivens responded after a pause.
Earlier in the day, Knox County Medical Examiner Dr. Christopher Lochmuller testified that he found no soot in the upper airways of Miller, which indicates that he was already dead when the fire was started.
Lochmuller went over the details of Miller's autopsy report, noting that he was shot three times -- once on the left side of the forehead, once on the right side, and once in the back of the head.
The wounds were not contact wounds, Lochmuller said, so the gun was not pressed against Miller's head when it was fired. But he said he could not determine the range of the shots.
He also noted that Miller's body was very badly burned.
"The majority of the body was blacked by char, just like when you put something on the grill and it overcooks," he explained to the jury.
The trial continues today at 9 a.m. in Monroe County Criminal Court.