The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Z_CNHI News Service

September 13, 2013

Four people found shot to death near old mountain resort

CROSSVILLE, Tenn. — Three teens and a 22-year-old woman were found shot to death, apparent victims in a quadruple murder, near an old mountain resort on Thursday morning. Police said a 26-year-old suspect is in jail after being arrested on a parole violation charge.

The four bodies were discovered in a car on Renegade Mountain about 7 a.m., said Cumberland County Sheriff Butch Burgess. A man and woman on their way to work noticed the car parked on a gravel road and thought it odd. They stopped to check, found the bodies and called 911.

The victims were identified as Rikki Danielle Jacobson, 22, who was in the driver's seat. The others were Steven Presley, 17, Dominic Davis, 17, and John Lajeunesse, 16. Burgess said all four victims were believed to be from the area.

Early Friday authorities arrested Jacob Allen Bennett, 26, for parole violation in a neighboring county but identified him as a suspect in the quadruple murder.

District Attorney Randy York said the suspect "knew the victims to some degree," but declined to provide further details. He said he plans to call a special grand jury to present evidence against Bennett in the case.

The suspect has a lengthy criminal record, according to the Knoxville Sentinel. He was released March 4 on parole from prison, where he was mid-way into a six-year sentence for forgery, car theft, illegal possesion of a handgun during a felony and other charges. 

About an hour west of Knoxville, Renegade Mountain is the site of a now defunct ski resort and golf course.

The wooded, isolated community still on the mountain has 141 houses and 43 full-time residents, homeowners association president John Moore told The Associated Press.

Residents have fought the community's owners over management issues - including security. Moore said the community has seen break-ins, drug dealers, "parkers" and sightseers.

Mark Gwyn, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, declined to say if drugs were involved in the quadruple murders, except to say that they contribute to 90 to 95 percent of all crimes, according to the Knoxville Sentinel.

Some details for this story were reported by the Crossville, Tenn. Chronicle.

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