Students in Shock Over Alleged Love Triangle Murder

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

Knoxville (WVLT) - A 31-year-old man charged with murdering a former West High School student is expected back in court March 27th.

Tuesday morning, 31-year-old Jason Eric McLean appeared in court for the first time to face charges.

At his next court appearance, the judge will hear a motion for bond.

McLean is charged with premeditated, first degree murder.

Powell was a senior at West High School and police say he was in a relationship with McLean's wife, Erin.

Meanwhile, more West High School students are asking why their former classmate, Sean Powell, had to lose his life over a possible love triangle.

There are still so many unanswered questions and it's difficult for many children to understand what happened and why.

But many students agree that getting involved with even a UT intern, like Erin McLean, was a mistake.

"I was kind of shocked that it ended that way," says Dwayne Gable.

Students filed into West High School as usual Tuesday morning, but many can't help but think about their former classmate 18-year-old Sean Powell.

"I went to a rugby game, a few, and saw him play, and I think it's pretty sad that that happened," says Nathaniel McElory.

Students who knew Powell say the senior never explained why he left in November.

"He really didn't say why. He just said he was dropping out and he wished me luck in football and everything," Gable says.

Powell also kept quiet about anything going on between him and student intern, Erin Mclean.

"He didn't say much anything about that. He didn't say anything at all," Gable says.

Some say even though Powell may have been in a relationship with a married student teacher, he still didn't deserve to die.

"I think that's kind of bad. I mean, it probably shouldn't have been happening, but I don't think he deserved to get shot in the face over that. Maybe they could've been talked to or come up with a better solution or something," McElory says.

Many students can't believe an intern, viewed as a staff member, would get involved with a student.

"You never know that could happen, and getting involved in something like that, you probably know that's not the best idea. Teachers are meant for teaching, not having relationships," McElory says.

Knox County Schools have a clear policy for interns and teachers:

"Staff members shall use good judgment in their relationships with students, avoid excessive informal and social involvement...and romantic relationships between employees and students are prohibited."

"These are our children we're talking about and we expect that they're safe when they're at school. We try to protect them from a Columbine. How do we protect them against a teacher predator?" says Bruce Poston, Jason McLean's attorney.


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