By WAYNE THOMAS, Staff Writer
Donnie Jones, 37, of Tullahoma, has been charged with first-degree murder in July 2 death of Megan Sharpton, 24, also of Tullahoma.
Jones, listed by police as the primary suspect for the past several weeks, was arrested late Monday by Franklin County Sheriff’s Department investigators after being indicted by the Franklin County Grand Jury. He was transferred Monday night to Franklin County from the Coffee County Jail, where he was being held on unrelated weapons charges. He is being held without bail, according to police.
In addition to the murder charges, Jones is facing rape and kidnapping charges in Sharpton’s death, according to police.
Franklin County Investigator Todd Hindman served the sealed indictment on Jones at the Coffee County Jail where he was being held on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm. His arrest came after investigators conducted a search warrant at Jones’ Bel-Aire Drive home several weeks ago.
Sharpton’s partially burned body was found by a passerby in the early morning hours of July 2 on Awalt Road near the bridge. Thinking it was a grass fire, the driver turned his car around to see about putting out the fire, thereby discovering Sharpton’s burning body.
Her car was found later that day on Three Forks Bridge Road in Bedford County, while her purse was discovered two days later in Rock Creek near Estill Springs.
Since then, investigators have conducted numerous interviews of people who knew Sharpton, a nursing student and waitress at a local restaurant. They have also sent numerous pieces of evidence to the state crime lab in Nashville for analysis. According to investigators, Franklin County District Attorney Mike Taylor waited until the lab completed the analysis of all of the evidence before seeking an indictment. On Monday, Hindman presented the evidence to the Franklin County Grand Jury.