Carter man charged in shooting death

By Kathy Helms-Hughes and Greg Miller
STAR STAFF
khughes@starhq.com/gmiller@starhq.com

   A Carter County man has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the Thursday shooting death of a Unicoi man found wrapped in a blanket and quilt in the bed of his pickup at a Johnson City church.
   Timothy Demery, 24, was located Thursday evening in Jonesborough by members of Washington County Sheriff's Department and Johnson City Police Bureau and held for questioning. He later was transferred to Carter County where he is being held without bond.
   Carter County Sheriff John Henson said investigators interviewed Demery and found that he called the victim, David Harmon, 1531 Whispering Pines Road, Unicoi, and told him he needed to come over to his house and discuss the money that Harmon owed him.
   Harmon went to Demery's residence at 1990 King Springs Road, where a fight erupted, leading to the shooting, Henson said. "After the shooting, Demery loaded Harmon into the back of Harmon's truck and drove him to the church parking lot on Orleans Street in Johnson City and left him in the parking lot. He then called a cab and went to a residence in Jonesborough."
   Harmon's truck was equipped with a camper top. When the truck was found, the keys were inside it and the doors unlocked. The blanket and quilt used to cover Harmon's body came from Demery's residence, according to Johnson City Police.
   Demery was wanted in Washington County on a warrant charging him with violation of probation. He also was served two outstanding warrants Friday, issued by the First Judicial District Drug Task Force, charging him with two counts sale of Schedule VI (marijuana).
   Through interviews it was learned that Harmon allegedly owed Demery $200 to $300, the sheriff said. Asked whether the shooting was drug related, Henson said, "We're looking into the possibility. We're not saying it is or it isn't. We've got several leads we have to follow out yet. The autopsy will tell us a lot."
   According to the sheriff, Demery and Harmon got into a fight in the living room and wound up in the bedroom. "Several items were broken in the living room. There was a lot of glass broken and you could tell there had been a pretty good fight there before the shooting occurred.
   "There were several shots fired. We don't know how many missed. We do know at least eight hit Harmon and they ranged from the head all the way to the lower part of the body. All shots were fired from the front."
   Henson said it is believed the shooting occurred sometime after midnight Wednesday. "The headlights were still on, on the truck, and this leads us to believe that Demery drove the truck out there before daylight."
   Sheriff's department investigators recovered a .22 semi-automatic rifle and a .25 automatic handgun from the crime scene. "Probably more than likely, the .22 will be the weapon used," Henson said. At a press conference Friday, the sheriff said it appeared both guns, owned by Demery, had been discharged. A preliminary autopsy, which was to be conducted Friday afternoon, "will tell us which weapon was actually used," he said.
   Capt. Trent Harris of Johnson City Police Bureau said an individual entered the police bureau around 4 p.m. Thursday and told police he had obtained information that a murder might have occurred and where the body could be located.
   "At that point, one of the Criminal Investigation Division personnel responded to Clifton View Baptist Church ..." and found Harmon's body.
   The individual who notified police received a phone call from Demery, saying he had shot someone. "This person was concerned and went to the police department," Henson said.
   After finding the body, Johnson City Police went to Demery's residence, Capt. Harris said, and realized they had a crime scene "but that it was outside our jurisdiction by approximately 200 feet ... At that time, I contacted Sheriff Henson."
   Capt. Harris said Demery was apprehended without incident at a trailer in Jonesborough, where he was found hiding under some clothes.
   Henson said that through cooperation of Johnson City, Washington-, Unicoi-, and Carter County law enforcement agencies, "We made an arrest within six hours of the time that we found the body. We worked together hand in hand, and just like putting a glove on, it fell right in line.
   "I feel like this is proof that working together on a case like this can really make a difference. They have been outstanding to work with. They did a tremendous job."