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Sheriff’s Office: Murder suspect sent video confession before arrest
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Sheriff’s Office: Murder suspect sent video confession before arrest

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BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. — Before her arrest Tuesday, the woman charged with murder in a Memorial Day shooting near Bluff City had already confessed to the crime — not in person, but in a video she shared with law enforcement officials through a confidential informant, according to Detective Jonathan Bright.

MUG Misty James

Misty James

Misty Magic James, a 26-year-old Johnson City resident, was charged with especially aggravated burglary and felony murder in connection with the shooting, according to a Tuesday news release from the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office.

James was found in a house on the 1500 block of Hunting Hills Road, next door to the house where 60-year-old Trina Jones was shot to death nearly 24 hours earlier, Bright said.

“The suspect was an acquaintance of the victim,” Capt. Andy Seabolt said Tuesday afternoon. “It was not a random robbery ... or anything like that.”

Seabolt said the investigation began around 11 a.m. Monday, when the SCSO responded to a report of an unresponsive woman in a house just outside of Bluff City.

He said he believed the caller was the victim’s son.

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“It was family, I know that much,” Seabolt said.

Inside the house, officers found Jones “slumped over on the floor at the front door from an apparent gunshot wound under the chin,” according to an affidavit from Bright.

Bright said that as law enforcement officials began investigating, a confidential informant contacted them to share a 19-minute video from James. In it, she confessed to the murder and described it in detail, he said.

“The defendant admits in the recording to shooting the victim and to her intention to steal items from the residence,” Bright said in the affidavit. “The defendant also admitted to leaving a black duffle bag in the home.”

Bright said the informant also handed over a bag left at the crime scene, and he said it contained a pistol, the same kind of weapon James mentioned in her video.

When James was located the next morning, another detective found prescription medication that belonged to Jones in her purse, Bright said.

Seabolt said that a video confession submitted through an informant is far from standard in this kind of crime.

“I’ve learned in 21 years [of this work] that anything is possible when it comes to criminal activity,” he said.

The captain said that James is currently being held at the Sullivan County jail on a $100,000 bond. A court date has been set for 9 a.m. next Tuesday.

swade@bristolnews.com | 276-645-2511 | Twitter: @swadely

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