Detectives look into murder victim's abusive relationship

By: Kate Burgess Email
By: Kate Burgess Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)--Cops in Roane county say they're close to arresting a murderer. As the Sheriff's Department narrows down its list of suspects we've done more digging into Brooke Morris' past.

Chief Deputy Tim Phillips said, "I don't know that Brooke knew she was going to be murdered. I think if she thought somebody was going to murder her, she probably wouldn't have been where she was, or by choice, she wouldn't have been where she was."

She may not have known, but Morris claimed to be afraid for her life in February. That's when she took out a restraining order on her ex- boyfriend, Shawn Smoot.

In it, Morris details their abusive extramarital relationship.

In one disturbing passage she said, "Shawn threw me down on the bed and held me down. Shawn strangled me with his hands around my neck until I became lightheaded and could not breathe."

Later she said, "Shawn is out of control and violent. He is stalking me and physically abused me. I am afraid of Shawn. He has threatened to kill me."

We tried to reach Smoot at his insurance agency in Farragut, but one of his employees told us, he wasn't available and wouldn't comment on the case.

Roane County wouldn't tell me if Smoot is the prime suspect.

"Anytime we have information leading us in a direction like that, where somebody may have been violent, or has a violent past we'll look into that person," Phillips said.

And even though he hasn't named any suspects so far Phillips said they're getting close.

"With the information we've gathered, I think we can say, 'yes' for certain. We can be confident about an arrest."

Autopsy results for Morris haven't come in yet.

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