Three Arrests in Loudon County Murder

Lenoir City (WVLT) - Two men and one woman face charges in the murder of a Lenoir City man whose body was found Wednesday at a campground site.

Volunteer TV's Allison Hunt has the details.

In just 48 hours, authorities were able to charge three people with the murder of 18-year-old Stephen Michael Booth. 22-year-old Stephen Andrew Bridges, 21-year-old Jessica Nicole Ward and 19-year-old Jonathan Vincent Hurst are all charged with first degree murder and especially aggravated robbery.

A situation Loudon County hasn't dealt with in a long time.

It's the first murder in three years in Loudon County and in just 48 hours, authorities were able to charge three people with the crime.

22-year-old Stephen Andrew Bridges, 21-year-old Jessica Nicole Ward and 19-year-old Jonathan Vincent Hurst are all charged with first degree murder and especially aggravated robbery after 18-year-old Stephen Michael Booth's body was found in the Yarberry Peninsula Recreation Area on Wednesday. Deputies say they believe their intent was to rob him.

"Mr. Booth still had some money on his person, however I think he may have had a good amount more, and they missed this particular amount," Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider said.

Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider says Booth was lured to the campground by Ward.

"They drove over to the location, the other two male subjects followed and hid out for a few moments and then an attack occurred," Guider said.

Sheriff Guider says Booth had wounds around his eye and face.

"Things got out of hand, and a struggle ensued, and a weapon was present and ultimately he was shot in the top of the head," Guider said.

Sheriff Guider says they believe bridges was the shooter.

He also says they think the two men were acquaintances of Booth, and Ward was a former girlfriend. Sheriff Guider says it was a team effort to break the case.

"Any murder is significant and of concern, but we kind of pride ourselves that we have no more than what we've had in several years," Guider said.

The sheriff says along with the department's deputies and investigators, invaluable and numerous citizen tips and information, TVA Police, and the Knoxville Police Department, they were able to charge these people this quickly. The three will appear in court on Monday, no bond has been set.

Be sure to stay with Volunteer TV and VolunteerTV.com for the latest on this Breaking News.


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