Blount county mother says son is burned, stabbed murder victim

By: Rob Pratt
By: Rob Pratt

FRIENDSVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A Blount County mother says her son is the murder victim whose body was found burned in friendsville this weekend.

The sheriff's department is now confirming that the victim was stabbed before being burned, but they say it will be several more days before they have a positive identification.

Relatives of 57-year-old Jerry "big daddy" Click, say they know he's the victim.

Jerry's mother says her son called her every morning.

When she never heard from him on Saturday, she knew something was wrong.

A family grieves. No one has officially told them that 57-year-old Jerry Click is dead, but relatives of the man known as "Big Daddy" say they know it in their hearts.

"It was my son, and I loved him, and he was not a homeless person. He was well loved by everybody."

Jerry's mother Lillian Russell is upset by initial reports that a homeless person's body was found burned outside a trailer on North Union Grove Road in Friendsville. She says Jerry, a contractor, was living in a camper there. Jeffrey Lee Jenkins, whose been charged with criminal homicide, lived nearby. He has two previous stabbing convictions. One in McMinville in 1997, and another in Knox County in 2001. He was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted first degree murder and three counts of carjacking."

"He shouldn't have never been let out of prison." Russel says, "My son was asleep in his bed and they went in to rob him for a hundred dollars."

Whatever the motive, Jerry's brother says violence would not have been necessary when dealing with his brother. The army veteran still worked as a contractor, even after he was severely injured in a car wreck years ago.

Jerry's brother Larry Click says, "If they would've just asked him, told him that they wanted that money, he's the kind of guy that would have probably just give it to them."

The family says "them", believing that at least one more arrest may follow. Investigators will not comment on that.

Click says, "I hope they pay for what they've done, all of them."

The family waits for the official word, but they are already ordering a memorial stone they plan to place in their garden, next to those of loved ones who are already gone.

Investigators say they expect to get autopsy results by the end of the week, when they hope to formally identify the victim.

Jeffrey Lee Jenkins is due in court Friday morning.


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