Accused killer faces new charge

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   A Valley Forge man whose trial was delayed last week due to new evidence coming to light has now been charged with an additional offense connected to the murder he has been charged with.
   John Vernon Campbell, 40, 175 Chambers Hollow Road, was served with an indictment Tuesday afternoon which had been handed down by a Carter County grand jury charging him with abuse of a corpse in connection with the death of 33-year-old Terri Sanders Abbott.
   Campbell was taken into custody by the Carter County Sheriff's Department in July 2003 after a specially called grand jury handed down an indictment against him charging him with first-degree murder and felony murder.
   Abbott's body was discovered on March 8, 2003 near the Blue Hole Recreation Area in the Stoney Creek community by a man from Kingsport and his two sons who had been riding dirt bikes in the area and had pulled off the roadway to "scout a fishing spot in the stream flowing along Panhandle Road," according to reports. While scouting the stream, one of the man's sons spotted Abbott's body in the stream.
   An autopsy determined that Abbott died of several blunt force traumas to the head.
   At the time the body of Abbott was discovered, Carter County Sheriff John Henson stated that investigators with his department had determined that Abbott had not been killed at that location but rather that her body had been left there after she was dead. "I estimate the body had been there (in the forest) well over a month. We do know that she was hauled out there and dumped and that shows something is wrong," Henson said at the time the body was found. It was later determined in an autopsy that Abbott had died somewhere around Feb. 13 or 14 in 2003, approximately three weeks before her body was found.
   According to state law, a person illegally disposing of a body can be charged with abuse of a corpse, which is a "Class E" felony.
   The trial for Campbell was slated to begin last week, but new evidence prompted the case to be delayed until December 7. According to Assistant District Attorney Ken Baldwin, a test performed on a piece of evidence looking for the presence of blood yielded significant results and prompted the delay of the case.