Update: Two arrests made in Blount deputy’s slaying; shooter still being sought

Published 11:30 am Saturday, February 10, 2024

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By Buzz Trexler

Star Correspondent

Authorities are continuing to search for a man wanted in the death of a Blount County Sheriff’s Office deputy and the wounding of another, while two people have been arrested in connection with the case.

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Kenneth Wayne DeHart Jr., 42, is being sought in the death of Deputy Greg McCowan, 43, who was shot following a traffic stop Thursday evening. Deputy Shelby Eggers, 22, who was with McCowan on patrol, suffered a gunshot to the leg and returned fire.

Carrie Mathews, 32, Sevierville, identified in an affidavit as DeHart’s girlfriend, was arrested around 2 a.m. Friday by Sevier County Sheriff’s Office on a charge of accessory after the fact and was being held without bond. According to the affidavit, about an hour after McCowan and Eggers were shot Thursday evening, deputies from Sevier County Sheriff’s Office went to a residence in the Boyds Creek area of Sevier County. While there, Mathews received a call from “Janeisha,” but it was DeHart who was on the other end of the line. Mathews was overheard saying, “They’re here,” referring to the deputies, and DeHart ended the call. “This action by Ms. Mathews warned Mr. DeHart of impending apprehension or discovery,” the affidavit states.

Marcus Erving DeHart, 41, brother of the suspect, was arrested at 3:04 p.m. Friday and is being held on $1 million bond. District Attorney General for the 5th Judicial District Ryan Desmond announced during a news conference Friday afternoon that he was charged with accessory after the fact, aiding after the commission of a homicide.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation issued a Blue Alert on Friday for Kenneth DeHart on warrants charging him with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and felon in possession of a weapon. DeHart has been added to the TBI Most Wanted List and is considered armed and dangerous.

According to a TBI release, the deputies initiated a traffic stop on an SUV in the 4900 block of Sevierville Road in Maryville. The driver, identified as DeHart, would not cooperate with deputies and refused to get out of the vehicle. A taser was deployed with no effect, the release said, and at some point DeHart produced a gun and fired shots, striking both deputies. DeHart then drove away from the scene.

McCowan was transported to Blount Memorial Hospital, where he later died. Eggers was also transported with serious but non-life-threatening injuries and the Sheriff’s Office said she is recovering at home.

According to BCSO’s Facebook page, the reward for DeHart’s capture has reached $80,000, including a TBI reward of up to $2,500; Blount County Mayor’s Office, $10,000; U.S. Marshals Service, $10,000; and Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith is offering a $40,000 reward. The balance of the reward total is covered by businesses and individuals. Anyone who has any information regarding the whereabouts of DeHart, is asked to call 865-981-7125 or 800-TBI-FIND.