Two dead in Lynn Valley murder-suicide

By Megan R. Harrell
Star Staff

Two men are dead and one woman is in critical condition after a shooting that occurred in the Lynn Valley area Sunday night. Deputies from the Carter County Sheriff's Department were dispatched to the Roger Campbell residence, 127 Isaac Lincoln Place, at 10:45 p.m. in response to a 911 call from a neighbor.
   CCSD Deputy Brad Hamm was the first officer to arrive at the scene. Hamm found Peggy Campbell, 47, lying wounded on her neighbor's porch, 128 Isaac Lincoln Place. The body of her estranged husband, Roger Campbell, 51, was found in the same yard with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
   Officers later discovered the body of Jerry Robinette, 56, of Kingsport, in the den of the Campbell residence. Robinette suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the chest.
   According to the CCSD, Roger Campbell had been living at Overlook Apartments, Milligan Hwy., when he came to the Lynn Valley residence armed with a .357 magnum handgun and a .9 mm handgun. He used his own keys to unlock the front door. He then walked into the den area where he found his estranged wife and Robinette sitting on the couch and opened fire on them.
   Peggy Campbell left the residence and was attempting to get help when Roger Campbell shot her at least one more time on the neighbor's porch. Peggy Campbell was shot a total of three times. She suffered one gunshot wound to the arm; one to the chest, and one to the face.
   According to the CCSD, after shooting his estranged wife, Roger Campbell stepped off the neighbor's porch and turned the .357 magnum on himself. Officers found him dead in the neighbor's yard upon arrival.
   "You go to a residence with a .357 and a .9 mm? In my opinion, that is going prepared to do what you need to do," Sheriff John Henson said. "He did just what he went there to do."
   Peggy Campbell was airlifted by Wings Air Rescue to the Johnson City Medical Center (JCMC) where she underwent immediate surgery. Sheriff Henson stated she was conscious and talking at the time she was placed inside the rescue helicopter.
   Both Campbells were East Tennessee State University graduates and were employed by the Carter County School System. Peggy Campbell is the principal at Happy Valley Elementary School, and Roger Campbell was a third grade teacher at Valley Forge Elementary School.
   Robinette was a supervisor with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in Carter County. He had been divorced for approximately 10 years, according to the sheriff's department. The sheriff's department also said Monday afternoon that Robinette and Peggy Campbell had been dating for a couple of weeks and that the Campbells had been legally separated for approximately eight months.
   However, Sheriff Henson, during a phone interview Monday night, said the nature of the relationship between Peggy Campbell and Robinette is unclear.
   "They had known each other for a couple of weeks, but as far as a romance, we don't know that. We know that they knew each other, and that's all," Henson said.
   Jerome Cochran, who is the attorney representing Peggy Campbell in divorce proceedings, said Monday night that Robinette and Campbell were not dating or romantically involved.
   "They met a couple of weeks ago at Peggy's church, and they've just been good friends since then," Cochran said. Cochran also said divorce papers were filed in his office approximately five months ago.
   Sheriff Henson stated the investigation is still in progress, but he believes Roger Campbell was upset over the couple's pending divorce. "We do not know what set him off, but apparently he did not want to go through with the divorce," Henson said.
   Henson believes Sunday's shooting is the latest tragedy in a recent string of domestic disputes.
   "Domestic violence is one of the most dangerous calls an officer can go on. There is a big increase in domestic violence not only in this county, but all other surrounding counties. I have seen a big change in domestic violence in the last two years," he said. "When you have a domestic situation like that, there are strong feelings. I guess you see everything going down the tube at one time, and it has a big impact on you, and I guess that it was just more than Mr. Campbell could handle."
   The CCSD has no reports of any domestic disturbances at the Campbell residence, and Roger Campbell has no prior criminal record.
   At press time, the JCMC reported Peggy Campbell still in critical condition.