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SPD Requests Assistance From Public To Identify Persons of Interest in Murder Investigation

On December 20, 2015, Donald Lawton of New Market, Tennessee was severely beaten and struck by a vehicle during a reported robbery. Mr. Lawton died on January 18, 2016, apparently as a result of injuries sustained during the robbery. (See Media Release dated 2-12-16 below.) SPD investigators identified two persons of interest in this murder; to date, neither person has been located.

Once again, we are requesting assistance from the public to identify the two persons of interest, a male and female, shown on the attached images. A sketch provided by a TBI artist of the female is also included. Anyone with information as to the identities of either person of interest is asked to call Detective Lt. Hinson at 865-868-1751.

All persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Released February 12, 2016

SPD detectives are requesting assistance from the public to identify two persons of interest in a murder investigation.

SPD officers responded to a reported robbery at the Great Smokies Craft Fair and Flea Market, 220 West Dumplin Valley Road, on December 20, 2015. The victim, 71-year old Donald Lawton of New Market, TN had apparently been struck in the head with a baseball bat. The assailants took an undisclosed amount of money and fled in a car, apparently striking Mr. Lawton with their vehicle. The car has been described as a green Ford Contour or Taurus with heavy damage to the driver's door.

Mr. Lawton was transported to LeConte Medical Center and transferred several days later to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Mr. Lawton died at UTMC on January 18, 2016, apparently as a result of injuries sustained during the robbery.

SPD detectives have been working with Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents, who have been able to enhance several photos taken from a business at the flea market.

SPD Detective Lieutenant Sam Hinson is requesting assistance from the public to identify two persons of interest, a male and female, shown on the attached images. A sketch provided by a TBI artist of the female is also included. Anyone with information as to the identities of either person of interest is asked to call Detective Lt. Hinson at 865-868-1751.

All persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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