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GOETCHEUS BROTHERS MURDER

Local jeweler denies illegal activity surrounding Goetcheus brothers' murder case

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Rick Davis. WRCBtv.com photo Rick Davis. WRCBtv.com photo
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

The District Attorney's office said they found the Goetcheus brothers' killer nearly 20 years after their deaths and said more people could be charged in the future. 

This week a grand jury indicted Christopher Johnson, 52, on three charges of first-degree murder.

READ MORE | Man indicted for 1997 murders of Goetcheus brothers

Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole accepted 52-year-old Christopher Jeffre Johnson’s pleas to three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced him to three separate life sentences, each without the possibility of parole.

The third count is for the death of Melissa Michelle “Missy” Ward, who was last seen the night of October 29, 2004.

Her body was found on Cash Canyon Road in Lookout Valley some two months afterward.

In 2014, Johnson began serving a 50-year prison sentence for the kidnapping and rapes committed in 2011.

District Attorney Neal Pinkston said the motive for the murders of Sean and Donny Goetcheus is still unclear but said he believes Sean might have had a videotape that shows illegal activity involving Rick Davis, the owner of Rick Davis' Gold & Diamonds.

Pinkston said Davis wanted the videotape and Johnson went to the Goetcheus home to get it back. Johnson got into a fight with Sean and shot him. He then realized Donny was inside the home and shot him too.

"To my knowledge, there's no videotape that ever existed, you know they want it to sound like at one time Sean was trying to blackmail me," Rick Davis said, "Sean was like a son to me."

Sean Goetcheus, 25, had dreams of being a gemologist and worked for Davis at the time of his death.

"He's the reason I'm on computers today," Davis said, "He was a good kid, had a good head on his shoulders, we called him Einstein."

Davis admits he's involved in the murder case.

"I've been involved in it ever since it happened, my girlfriend and I were the ones that found the bodies," he said.

But Davis denies the District Attorney's statements that said suspected murderer Christopher Johnson knew Davis from his jewelry business.

"Don't know him, haven't seen him," Davis said, "If I seen him it was maybe a glimpse or something, but not that I can recall."

Davis said he's helped the DA's office with the case throughout the years.

"Every time they call me I go down there, I talk, I look, we've looked at 150 pictures and mugshots and everything else," Davis said.

But in a press conference Tuesday Pinkston came short of calling him cooperative.

"I don't know that I would say cooperated I would say that he's been interviewed," Pinkston said.

Davis has not been charged with a crime.

"You know I'm right here everyday, I don't do anything I'm not ashamed of," he said.

He said he's grateful the Goetcheus family now has some sort of closure, and hopes a motive for the killings will one day surface.

"But at least we know now who did the crime and who done what, you know it'll all come out," Davis said.

The DA's office said even though Christopher Johnson has been indicted on the two murders investigators are still actively working this case. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Cold Case Hotline at (423) 209-7470 or click here to send an email.

Tips can remain anonymous. 

The District Attorney's office said the public response to Tuesday's announcement has been terrific and they've received several calls and substantial leads through the hotline.

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