UPDATE: Cold case charges against Donnie Brantley have been dism - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Cold case charges against Donnie Brantley have been dismissed

Posted: Updated:
BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: The 1st-degree premeditated murder charge against Donnie Brantley in the death of his wife, Marsha Brantley, was dropped Monday. 

The defense attorney asked to have the charges dismissed because there wasn't enough evidence.

His wife was reported missing in November of 2009.

Officials say her body still has not been found. 


PREVIOUS STORY: Bradley County investigators believe they've solved a 7-year-old cold case. 

Authorities announced Tuesday they have charged Donnie Brantley with 1st-degree premeditated murder in the death of Marsha Brantley between May 1st and July 31st of 2009. Deputies say this is the second time Brantley has been charged with his wife's murder, all previous charges were dropped due to lack of evidence.

It's a cold case that's been filled with twists and turns. Marsha Brantley was reported missing in November of 2009, her husband Donnie was indicted by a grand jury but charges against him were dropped in 2013, just 10 days before the trail. 

Family members and investigators agreed to the dismissal back then. At the time, they believed Donnie was guilty but they weren't sure if they had enough evidence to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.

Donnie Brantley has been a suspect in his wife's disappearance since the beginning. Deputies say he never reported her missing. He skipped town leaving behind all of their wedding photos and he kept changing his story. 

In fact, it was Marsha's hairdresser who filed the missing person's report months after she had stopped visiting the salon. 

Investigators are still searching for Marsha's body. Her family has declared her deceased. District Attorney Steve Crump wouldn't say what new evidence led to his decision on moving forward with the case but he did say the victim's family was behind him. 

Brantley was arraigned before a judge Tuesday afternoon, he told the judge his family was in the process of hiring an attorney. 

Deputies are still gathering evidence, they've asked anyone with information that could help investigators to please come forward. 

The news of Brantley's arrest comes as a relief to Marsha's family who has never given up hope. Family members have searched the couple's home from top to bottom and even dug up the basement floor with cadaver dogs in the past, nothing's been found. 

While family members hope to lay Marsha to rest one day, they say they will never stop fighting for justice. 

Brantley is being held on a $250,000 dollars bond. He's due back in court Tuesday December 20th for an attorney status hearing.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story. 


Its a seven year-cold case that's been filled with twists and turns. 

Marsha Brantley was reported missing in November of 2009, her husband Donnie was indicted by a grand jury but charges against him were dropped in 2013, just 10 days before the trail. 

READ MORE | Investigators search for missing Bradley Co. woman

It was family members and investigators who called for dismissal back then, they still believed Donnie was guilty, but they weren't sure if they had enough evidence to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.

READ MORE | Bradley Co murder charge dropped against accused husband

Donnie Brantley has been a suspect in his wife's disappearance since the beginning, deputies say he never reported her missing,  he skipped town leaving behind all of their wedding photos and he kept changing his story... 

In fact, it was Marsha's hair dresser who filed the missing person's report--- months after she had stopped visiting the salon.

The news comes as a relief to Marsha's family who has never given up hope. They searched the couple's home from top to bottom even dug up the basement floor with cadaver dogs looking for clues.

This memorial headstone, bears Marsha's name but she isnt here while  family members hope to lay her to rest one day, they say they will never stop fighting for justice.  

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