Jail employee accused of murder-for-hire plot against girlfriend's ex-husband
MEIGS COUNTY, TN (WRCB) – A Meigs County man is behind bars after a murder-for-hire plot.
It all came together in less than a week. Just enough time, the TBI says, to warn the intended target and line up an agent to pose as the hit man.
The price for murder, they say? A thousand dollars.
From a guy who earns $18,000 a year making sure Meigs County inmates stay on task, when they pick up roadside litter.
Meigs County Sheriff Jackie Melton says he had enough faith in Jackie Scroggins to keep him on the payroll after taking office last year.
"I considered him a friend," Sheriff Melton says. "It wasn't just an employer-employee relationship."
Scroggins, 52, isn't a sworn deputy. He's spent the past six years supervising Meigs County inmates when they pick up litter on the roads.
Since Tuesday night, however, Scroggins has been an inmate himself. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation arrested him on charges of solicitation to commit first-degree murder.
"Mr. Scroggins was attempting to hire someone to murder his girlfriend's ex-husband," TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm says.
"Shocked, disappointed; what else can I say," Sheriff Melton asks.
TBI's probe began less than a week ago, when a confidential informant tipped agents that Scroggins was seeking a hit-man, Helms reports.
"I can't tell you how he (Scroggins) became involved with our undercover agent, but they met twice in the past week to discuss details," Helms says. "And yesterday, he (Scroggins) exchanged money with him."
Investigators allege that Scroggins paid $1,000 as an advance for the hit, and $100 for the gun to be used. He was arrested at the Sheriff's Department when Sheriff Melton requested a meeting to discuss his job duties.
Investigators have not released the names of Scroggins' girlfriend, or of her ex-husband. They say the ex was informed that he was an intended target. Scroggin's girlfriend reportedly has two school-age children by her ex-husband.
Neither Helms or Melton would speculate on a possible motive for murder.
Channel 3 visited Scroggins' home in Georgetown early Wednesday afternoon. One neighbor declined to appear on camera, but he described Scroggins as difficult to approach. The neighbor also recalled Scroggins and his girlfriend arguing loudly and often.
Shortly thereafter, the Sheriff's Department retrieved Scroggins' car from the home, and brought it to the Meigs County Jail. Sheriff Melton has declined to say why.