UN 1979 cold case murder was a contract killing with ties to Tennessee governor's office, Dice DA

Authorities in Tennessee say they’ve solved the 42-year-old murder of a Chattanooga businessman, chiamando il caso freddo a “omicidio a contratto” con legami con l'ex governo del Tennessee. Ray Blanton’s administration.

Samuel Pettyjohn was shot four times and killed on February 1, 1979, in what investigators described asan execution-style hit,” secondo a news release from the Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston said that at the time of his death, Pettyjohn was part of a federal probe into a pardon and parole scheme involving Blanton.
      Pinkston said the governor’s office arranged for inmates to be released early from their sentences in exchange for cash.
        Pettyjohn was involved in the operation, Pinkston said, but he cooperated with the FBI on a number of occasions and testified that Blanton was aware of the scheme.
          Pinkston said that through their investigative work, they identified Pettyjohn’s killer as William Edward Alley, un “notorious bank robberwho died in federal custody in 2005.
          CNN was not able to reach Alley’s family members for comment.
          According to Pinkston, Alley was hired to kill Pettyjohn and a portion of the contract was paid for by a third party on behalf of the former governor’s office.
          There is no question this was a contract murder,” Pinkston said.
          Martedì, a Hamilton County grand jury voted that if Alley was still alive there was enough evidence to indict him on first-degree premeditated murder in Pettyjohn’s death.
          This confirmation by the grand jury of the investigative findings means the cold case murder of Pettyjohn is officially closed,” Pinkston said. “Our Cold Case Unit put in countless hours to solve this unusual case. Fiduciosamente, it will bring some closure and peace to Pettyjohn’s surviving family members.
          Blanton served as governor from 1975 per 1979 and was replaced by Gov. Lamar Alexander, who took office three days early because of the pardons and parole scandal, according to the National Governors Association.
          È morto nel 1996 and CNN was unable to reach his family members for comment on the case.
          Blanton was never indicted in the pardons and parole scheme, secondo il comunicato stampa, but members of his administration were, along with William Aubrey Thompson, a local county Democratic boss for Blanton’s election campaign, who was later convicted.
          Blanton was later convicted on charges of mail fraud and conspiracy to sell liquor licenses and served 22 months in prison, secondo il National Governors Association.

          Ties to Jimmy Hoffa

          According to case details in a news release from the DA, Pettyjohn was a businessman and had owned several stores and nightclubs in the Chattanooga area. He maintained strong ties with the Teamsters union and was a personal friend of James Riddle Hoffa Sr., also known as Jimmy Hoffa, secondo il comunicato stampa.
          At the time of his murder, Pettyjohn had cash and jewelry on him that was valued at $ 100,000. The items were not taken from the Beverage Center business, which Pettyjohn owned, where he was shot to death. Quando è arrivata la polizia, they found an attaché case that Pettyjohn owned that contained a recording device with several recordings inside.
          That attaché case, the recording device and the recordings were removed from the crime scene and have never been located,” il comunicato stampa ha detto. “Some witnesses indicate that there were at least 40-50 total recordings.
          Two witnesses in the parking lot of the Beverage Center at the time of the shooting described the suspect to policeas a heavy-set African American male with a beard and glasses.The suspect was wearing a trench coat, secondo il comunicato, and fired one to two shots into the air before fleeing the scene.
          Police arrested two suspects in 1982 and charged them with Pettyjohn’s murder, but those charges were dismissed because both men had alibis.
          The case remained unsolved and in 2015 when the cold case unit began a review and investigation of all events surrounding the homicide of Pettyjohn, secondo il comunicato stampa.
          During the investigation, officials interviewed several cooperating individuals who said Alley admitted being paid between $ 25,000 e $ 50,000 for murdering Pettyjohn, ha detto il comunicato.
          They said Alley, who was White, wore face paint, a false beard and glasses to hide his identity, secondo il comunicato.
          Pettyjohn knew too much about illegal activities and his cooperation with federal authorities placed other individuals’ la libertà, including that of Governor Ray Blanton, at severe risk,” il comunicato stampa ha detto.
          Pettyjohn's family poses with officials at the news conference. They included (da sinistra a destra): Jamica and Jamila, twin daughters of Saadiq Pettyjohn, Corine Carter, niece of Samuel Pettyjohn, Saadiq Pettyjohn (son of Samuel Pettyjohn) and wife Tina, former Chattanooga City Councilman Leamon Pierce and  District Attorney General Pinkston.

          One of Pettyjohn’s sons, Saadiq, attended the district attorney’s news conference with his wife, sister and two daughters, and spoke on behalf of his 92-year-old mother and the entire family, secondo il comunicato stampa.
            It is a curse and a blessing to grow up in a family that is connected to crime,” said Saadiq Pettyjohn in the news release. “When that person dies, you can either go that route, or you can go a different route, and all of us chose to go a better route with education and try to do better in our lives.
            He also thanked Pinkston and everyone involved in solving his father’s murder.

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