UPDATE: Jury selection begins for suspect in brutal cemetery hom - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Jury selection begins for suspect in brutal cemetery homicide

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Chad Massengale appears in court Tuesday. WRCBtv.com photo Chad Massengale appears in court Tuesday. WRCBtv.com photo
SODDY DAISY, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: The selection of a jury for one of the three suspects in a brutal 2015 death in a Soddy Daisy cemetery got underway Tuesday.

Chad Massengale, along with fellow suspects, Dekota Burchard and Roy Henderson, were charged in the death of Tony Rector.

Rector was struck multiple times with blunt and sharp objects, and died as a result of those injuries, according to the medical examiner's office.


PREVIOUS STORY: Three people have been charged for the murder of a man whose body was left in a Soddy-Daisy cemetery in December. After a month of chasing leads, police say they have the men responsible for the death of Tony Rector.

Soddy-Daisy police say at this point in the investigation it is not clear how the four men are connected.

"Don't know what the intent was and why it ended up the way it ended, but you know, sadly a man lost his life," says Lt. Jeff Gann with the Soddy-Daisy Police Department.

The body of 51-year-old Tony Rector was found December 29 in the Soddy Presbyterian Cemetery.

He was from Marion County and had a wife and children but was living homeless in Hamilton County.

An autopsy reveals Rector was hit multiple times with blunt and sharp objects.

Now 30-year-old Chad Massengale,  27-year-old Dekota Burchard, and 26-year-old Roy Henderson are charged with his murder. Burchard and Henderson were already in jail on other charges. 

"I was very confident that this agency would actually track these people down and locate the ones responsible for the death of Tony Rector," says Gann.

After questioning several witnesses, detectives were able to piece together a timeline of events.

Police say the beating of Rector started on December 28 at a home off Dallas Hollow Road where he was staying.

Court documents obtained by Channel 3 say Chad Massengale told an acquaintance they beat Rector with a crowbar or tire tool then dumped his body at the cemetery.

"I'm really not sure on what the connection was. Other than everybody was apparently at one location at some point in time," says Gann.

All three men have been charged with criminal homicide and aggravated assault.

Gann says his heart goes out to Rector's family.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rector family. Hopefully this will actually, again, you know, give them some type of peace knowing that the men responsible for the death of Tony Rector have been caught," says Lt. Gann.

All three men have lengthy court records. Massengale has faced a variety of charges ranging from theft to aggravated assault and DUI.

Henderson has no criminal court record but has been picked up for DUI and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Burchard has pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and theft charges in the past.

All three remain in jail on a $2,025,000 bond.?


PREVIOUS STORY: Autopsy results, released by the Hamilton County Medical Examiner's Office, show the man found dead in a Soddy Daisy cemetery was violently beaten to death.

Soddy Daisy Police found a man's body on December 29. The victim was later identified as Tony Rector.

Police ruled his death a homicide, which was confirmed again today through a medical examiner's report. It shows Rector was hit multiple times with blunt and sharp objects. He died as a result of severe injuries to his face and head.

While Soddy Daisy Police are working to find who is responsible for Tony Rector's death, Channel 3 is learning more about what his life was like in the months before he was killed.

While Rector had a wife and children in Marion county, he was living homeless in Hamilton County.

"He was very transitory, he had several camp sites he would live in, some he got kicked out of, some he stayed longer in different places," said Tony Smith, Hixson United Methodist Church.

Tony Smith met 51-year-old Tony Rector sometime last spring, while working with a ministry team aimed at helping the homeless.

He says Rector would usually camp out around the Hixson Pike area, riding his bicycle wherever he goes. But lately, Smith says Rector had been hard to find.

"We'd see him every week for several months, and then he would disappear for a month," Smith said, "And then we would find him again, and this was the longest we had not seen him, we heard he had moved out of this area."

Rector was found dead last Tuesday, in what we're now learning was a violent murder.

The medical examiner believes Rector was killed in a different location, and then taken to the cemetery after his death.

Soddy Daisy Police Department continues its investigation and search for a suspect.

"They're working these leads, and we urge anyone, that if anyone has any information we want to hear from you," said Lt. Jeff Gann.

While Rector may have fallen upon hard times, Smith says he was working to find his way home.

"I know that Tony talked a lot about his family, they were very important to him," Smith said, "That's a big reason he did try to get help. That was his focus."

Rector's funeral was held Monday in Jasper.

His obituary says Rector had six children, and five grandchildren.

Rector's death marks the only murder of 2015 in Soddy Daisy.


PREVIOUS STORY:  Soddy Daisy Police say the man found Tuesday at the Soddy Presbyterian Cemetery has been identified as Tony S. Rector, 51 of Marion County.  His death has been ruled a homicide.  The Hamilton County Sheriff's Department is aiding in the investigation. 

This is the only murder investigation in Soddy Daisy so far in 2015.

"And this is not anything I'm accustomed to," said Lt. Jeff Gann, "This is not something that i pick up the newspaper and I read that there's been a murder inside the city of Soddy Daisy, that's not common in this area."

Police identified the body of Tony Rector, 51, using fingerprints after finding his body near the entrance to the Soddy Presbyterian cemetery, wearing only shorts, and no identification.     
    
Lt. Gann said based on his injuries, it was clear someone else is responsible for his death.

"To take someone's life, that's barbaric," Lt. Gann said, "They're working these leads, and we urge anyone that if anyone has any information, we want to hear from you."

Tony Rector was a father of three. One of his daughters says he was a great father and a great husband, and didn't deserve what happened to him.

Rector grew up in South Pittsburg. His family says he worked in construction.

Lt. Gann says he's confident his department will find the person, or persons, responsible for rector's death.

"But that still doesn't make it right for the families, I mean this is a loss," he said, "And again, our hearts and our prayers and thoughts are with the family."

Rector's family was busy Thursday making funeral arrangements.

They say they hope police will find whoever is responsible for his death.

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PREVIOUS STORY:  A body found at a Soddy Daisy cemetery has been deemed "suspicious," according to police.

Soddy Daisy police say the man's body was found Tuesday morning in the Soddy Presbyterian Cemetery.

A person found the man's body lying in the middle of a path near the cemetery's entrance. It was the body of a white male, wearing only shorts, and no identification.

"At this time I have no way of knowing the identity of this person, I have no way of knowing how the body actually arrived at this location," said Lt. Jeff Gann.

The first priority for investigators is to find out who the man is.

"They'll be able to come together and go off of fingerprints, they'll be able to go off of ID as far as dental records and things like that just to be able to get the identity of this person," Lt. Gann said.

Police would not confirm if there were any visible signs of trauma, but do call the circumstances suspicious.

They hope to soon make contact with the man's family, and learn more.

"A loss of a human being is a loss throughout the entire family," Lt. Gann said, "And this is nothing to take lightly, regardless of the circumstances to how it may have happened, natural or if there was any kind of foul play involved."

The body has been taken to the Hamilton County Medical Examiner's office for a full autopsy.   

Lt. Gann says he's not calling this a homicide investigation unless the cause of death determines that is the case.  

Once police identify the man, and make contact with his family, they will then release his name to the media.

Stay with Channel 3 and WRCBtv.com for more on this developing story.

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