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Three people arrested in double murder, arson investigation

By Megan Gorey
Published On: Feb 25 2013 05:16:12 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 24 2013 11:00:00 PM CST

Three people face murder charges after a lengthy investigation into the deaths of two people in Roan Mountain last June.

CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. -

Three people face murder charges after a lengthy investigation into the deaths of two people in Roan Mountain last June.

"Let me make this very clear: this was a very violent and brutal cold-blooded homicide," said Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes.

After eight months of investigating, spanning five states and including more than 50 interviews, the Carter County Sheriff's Department arrested and charged three men in connection with a double murder arson in Roan Mountain. "I appreciate the family's patience as we've worked extremely hard on this case. We're not done, we're closer to being complete with this case," he added.

In June, the bodies of 61-year-old Joyce Brock and 54-year-old Russell Glenn Shell were found inside a burnt garage, shot in the head and doused in gasoline.

"My heart goes out to the families. No one should have to deal with this kind of death and tragedy," Mathes said.

The three men were indicted by the grand jury on Thursday. On Sunday, Jonathan Shell, 22, Jeffrey Whitehead, 48, and Tyler Shell, 20, were arrested and charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit first degree murder.

Jonathan Shell and Whitehead are also charged with two counts of aggravated arson and two counts of tampering with evidence.

At a press conference on Monday, Mathes said deputies found marijuana, meth, pills and alcohol at the murder scene. He believes drugs could be one of the motives. "We are looking at other theories and facts to indicate additional motives," Mathes added.

Mathes noted it will be up to the district attorney whether to seek the death penalty in the case. "Weeks prior to the murder, Brock and Glenn Shell's house was burnt down. In my opinion there is premeditation."

The investigation revealed Glenn Shell's ex-wife is married to Whitehead. Jonathan Shell is Glenn Shell's son.

Tyler Shell is not related to the victims or other subject. Mathes said after the murder was committed, he joined the military. He was released on bond.

Jonathan-Shell Tyler-Daniel-Shell Jeffrey-Whitehead

Jonathan Shell was charged with two counts of first degree murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit first degree murder, two counts of aggravated arson and two counts of tampering with evidence-abuse of a corpse.

Tyler Daniel Shell is charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit first degree murder.

Jeffrey Whitehead was charged with two counts of first degree murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit first degree murder, two counts of aggravated arson and two counts of tampering with evidence-abuse of a corpse.