Suspect identified in 1985 cold case slaying

Published 9:59 am Monday, December 23, 2019

JACKSBORO (AP) — Tennessee officials on Thursday identified a deceased convicted felon as suspect in a 1985 cold case slaying.

A Campbell County grand jury found that if Jerry Leon Johns were alive, he would be indicted on a charge of first-degree murder in the 1985 slaying of Tina Marie McKenney Farmer, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.

Farmer’s body was found along Interstate 75 in Campbell County and autopsy results showed she was strangled.

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A break in the case came after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation resubmitted items from the victim for DNA testing and got a match with Johns, who died in 2015 while in custody on charges including aggravated kidnapping and assault.

The grand jury issued its finding after hearing evidence and facts collected as part of the investigation into Farmer’s death.