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News Local News Grand jury finds Johnny Lee Litton was responsible for killing Andy Sells

Grand jury finds Johnny Lee Litton was responsible for killing Andy Sells

Johnny Lee Litton, the Oneida man who killed himself amid a standoff with law enforcement officers in June, confessed just before shooting himself that he was responsible for the December 2019 murder of Andrew Sells, it was revealed Friday. Grand jury documents unsealed at 2 p.m. Friday afternoon in the office of Circuit Court Clerk […]

Johnny Lee Litton, the Oneida man who killed himself amid a standoff with law enforcement officers in June, confessed just before shooting himself that he was responsible for the December 2019 murder of Andrew Sells, it was revealed Friday.

Grand jury documents unsealed at 2 p.m. Friday afternoon in the office of Circuit Court Clerk Donnie Phillips revealed the findings, which were presented to the grand jury by the office of District Attorney General Jared Effler on Thursday.

The grand jury issued a pair of rare posthumous indictments charging Litton with both the death of Sells and the death of Daniel Joshua Jenkins, who was shot and killed on June 5.

The 48-year-old Litton shot and killed Jenkins, 41, of Robbins, during a confrontation at the LaFollette Housing Authority projects off Litton Road near Oak Grove. As the first Oneida Police Department officers arrived on scene, Sgt. Steve Trammel had a brief standoff with Litton, during which time he heard Litton confess to the murder of Sells in December 2019, TBI Special Agent Bill Miller told the grand jury. Moments later, Trammel and other witnesses saw Litton shoot himself in the head. He was pronounced dead at Big South Fork Medical Center nearby.

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For the first time on Friday, with the unsealing of the indictments, details emerged regarding the nature of the June 5 murder-suicide. According to testimony presented by Agent Miller to the grand jury, Litton shot Jenkins twice in the back. Litton’s vehicle was found parked in a grassy area between the apartments and Shoemaker Avenue. Jenkins’ vehicle was on Shoemaker Avenue with multiple bullet holes in the tailgate and rear of the cab.

Litton’s wife, Tracey Coffey, told investigators that she and Litton had been driving around that day and discussing their pending divorce. Coffey told investigators that Litton had been talking to Jenkins about a stimulus check that had been delivered to the wrong address. Litton wanted Jenkins to return the check.

Litton and Coffey went to Jenkins’ residence in Robbins, but Jenkins was not there. Coffey told investigators that Litton then drove to the Flat Creek Reservoir in Huntsville and said he was going to kill himself and make her watch. At that point, Coffey sent a location alert to another woman, who called police and alerted them to the location of Litton and Coffey.

It was at Jenkins’ mother’s apartment on Shoemaker Avenue that Litton located Jenkins. Jenkins came out and gave Litton the stimulus check, according to testimony to the grand jury.

However, Litton then began arguing with Jenkins about an incident involving Coffey’s sister, Coffey told investigators. As Jenkins turned to walk away, Litton shot him twice in the back.

Coffey fled the scene on foot, with Litton pursuing her through the apartment complex with his truck. That’s when Oneida police arrived on scene and confronted Litton.

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Coffey, who was on the phone with 911 dispatchers, heard Litton tell Sgt. Trammell that he had killed Sells. He then turned his gun on himself and shot himself in the temple.

Sells was killed in December 2019, at his residence at 10422 Baker Highway in Pioneer. His body was discovered on Christmas Eve by Matthew Anderson, who phoned his girlfriend and ex-wife to tell them what he had found.

Sells, who had served a prison sentence for murder before being paroled, was found in the driveway of the residence.

That homicide was also investigated by TBI Agent Miller.

For the first time on Friday, details of the Sells murder were also released by authorities. Investigators found six spent shell casings from a 12-gauge shotgun in the driveway of Sells’ home, along with damage to the home from what appeared to be pellets from a shotgun blast.

Forensics examiners determined that Sells had been shot three times with a shotgun, and that he had died of a shotgun wound to the head.

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Coffey told investigators that Litton had admitted to her that he had killed Sells, and that he had thrown the shotgun used to kill Sells into a pond on Chitwood Mountain. She led investigators to the pond and showed them where the shotgun was disassembled and discarded. Authorities recovered a spring from a 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun from the pond.

During an interview with Litton’s mother, the older woman told police that her son told her immediately after Sells’ death that “Our problem in Straight Fork has been taken care of.” When she asked Litton what problem, he replied, “Andy.”

Sells was convicted in 2005 of Second Degree Murder in the death of Charles Litton, Johnny Litton’s brother. Sells shot and killed Charles Litton on New Year’s Day in 2004.

Another man — David Spoon, of Campbell County, who was not charged — was named in the indictment as the person who drove Litton to Sells’ residence in December. Spoon told authorities that Litton got out of the vehicle carrying a duffel bag. He said he did not know what was in the bag, and that Litton told him to drive to a nearby church and then come back. Spoon did as he was told, then took Litton home.

The grand jury handed down the posthumous indictments that, but for his death, would have charged Litton with First Degree Murder in the death of Sells and Second Degree Murder in the death of Jenkins.

The indictments were sealed for 24 hours until Jenkins’ and Sells’ families could be notified.

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Independent Herald
Contact the Independent Herald at newsroom@ihoneida.com. Follow us on Twitter, @indherald.
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