HUNTSVILLE — The Scott County Sheriff’s Department yesterday filed charges against an Oneida woman who authorities say played a role in the 2005 shooting death of a Helenwood man.
Casey Michelle Thomas, 27, of Oneida, has been jailed on felony charges stemming from the nearly eight-year-old homicide case.
The arrest comes nearly one year after Scott County Sheriff Mike Cross said that his office was re-opening the investigation into the death of Jesse B. Posey, 66, who was gunned down inside his home in the Cherry Fork neighborhood. Authorities have been tight-lipped about the investigation, but indicated some months ago that an arrest might soon be made. Today, Cross said that the investigation is ongoing.
Thomas is not charged with murder. Rather, she faces charges of facilitation of first degree murder, aiding and abetting first degree murder and especially aggravated robbery.
Investigators have long speculated that robbery was the killer’s motive. Posey was known to carry large sums of cash on his person, and his wallet was discovered missing.
It was late in the evening of May 24, 2005, when Scott County’s 911 Dispatch received a call of a possible shooting on Cherry Fork Road, just south of Oneida.
Within minutes, authorities were on the scene of the 4026 Cherry Fork residence, where they discovered 66-year-old Jesse B. (JB) Posey face-down on a sofa in his living room. He had been shot once in the back of the head. Minutes later, he was confirmed dead when paramedics arrived on the scene.
For the next three and a half hours, then-Chief Detective Robby Carson, Detective Randy Lewallen, then-Chief Deputy Marty Carson, Sgt. Donnie Phillips and Deputy Adam Douglas remained at Posey’s residence, combing for potential evidence.
A subsequent examination of Posey’s body determined that he had been shot with a .32-caliber automatic weapon. The investigation also revealed that Posey’s wallet was missing, leading authorities to believe that the motive for the slaying was robbery.
Over the next several months, investigators worked a number of leads in the case — including extensive searches for the gun used in Posey’s death. But the murder weapon was never recovered, Posey’s wallet was never recovered, the public slowly lost interest in the case, and it appeared that the case might become a rarity for local law enforcement agencies: An unsolved murder.
Determined to keep the focus on their brother’s death, members of Posey’s family offered a reward for information leading to a conviction. The Sheriff’s Department received backing from then-Gov. Phil Bredesen’s office to also offer a reward. Still, no one stepped forward with information that could help law enforcement track down the person responsible for Posey’s death.
In June 2007, after a change of administration in the Sheriff’s Office, then-Sheriff Anthony Lay announced that the investigation was being re-opened and that investigators would double-down in an effort to exhaust all leads. However, that investigation also came up empty. For the next several years, the case was relatively quiet, until Cross announced last year that new focus was being given to the matter.