Sheriff; scene cleaned, but not compromised before death ruled crime
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- James Plott doesn't feel the least bit edgy after hearing his neighbor, Allen David Gibson, 53, didn't die by accident.
"I feel as safe as I ever did. Anybody could come by and break in on ya," he says.
Hamilton County Sheriff's investigators say Gibson's mother told them that she found his body early Monday morning, on the kitchen floor of the home they shared on Snow Hill Road in Ooltewah.
The Medical Examiner's report makes clear Gibson suffered numerous injuries, including nine blunt force blows to his forehead, two to the back of his head, and numerous contusions and abrasions.
"I don't want to comment on any particular things other than there was a large amount of blood," Sheriff Jim Hammond says.
So much blood, according to the Sheriff, deputies released the crime scene to a neighbor Monday night.
Tuesday morning, the blood on the kitchen floor was gone.
"The family either did it, or had someone clean up the blood, as I would in my own house," Sheriff Hammond says. "There was nothing materially lost in cleaning the blood. They'd gather all kinds of evidence, all kinds of DNA, all kinds of material."
Eyewitness News asked the Sheriff, point-blank, whether the family's actions might have compromised the investigation in any way.
"It did not," the Sheriff says. "We had plenty of samples, plenty of photographs."
Nevertheless, Deputies were posted at the Gibson house late Tuesday morning, and stayed through much of Thursday. They were under orders to keep everybody off of the property.
They were gone when Eyewitness News visited Friday. Nobody answered our knock, though a window was open on one of the cars left in the driveway.
Plott's not surprised. He says he last saw Gibson's mother several years ago. She was staring at a car wreck in front of her house.
"She was barefoot," he says, shaking his head. "Walking in and out of glass like it was feathers."
Other neighbors speak of the Gibson house as a home in which nobody could get along with one another.
"He (Gibson) did have a history," Sheriff Hammond says.
Court records show Gibson spent two years in prison for assault; the original charge was attempted murder. He was charged with assault again in 2009, and had several arrests in Tennessee and Florida on charges ranging from attempted carjacking to driving under the influence.
The Sheriff won't say whether any Gibson's past might point to his killer.
Plott is beyond guessing.
"I know as much about the man in the moon as I do about them," says Plott.
Late Friday afternoon, the Medical Examiner released Gibson's body to his family for burial.
Lane Funeral Home's South Crest Chapel in Rossville is handling arrangements.