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Sheriff takes second look at Cooksey crime scene

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Capt. Robert Bryan, left, and Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe reviewed the site where Butch Cooksey’s body was found 41 years ago with newly discovered photographs of the original crime scene. Three investigators with the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s Critical Incident Response Team discuss the photographs on Highway 70 between Spring Creek and Rome Pike. Ashe hopes the recently-discovered photographs help back up the findings from the University of Tennessee’s report indicating Cooksey suffered injuries prior to being struck by a vehicle the night of his death.ZACK OWENSBY / The Wilson Post By ZACK OWENSBYThe Wilson PostRecently discovered photographs of the scene on Sparta Pike where Butch Cooksey’s body was found 41 years ago are hoped to shed new light on the cold case reopened by the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office in 2009.Cooksey was found dead in the roadway in 1969, apparently struck by a vehicle. No one has been charged in the case.Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe and members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s Critical Incident Response Team revisited the scene where Cooksey’s body was found on Highway 70 between Rome Pike and the Spring Creek Bridge.Ashe said even after looking tirelessly for months for information and evidence from the previous case, the photos that were recently discovered depict Cooksey’s body lying on the roadway in detail investigators could not see from previous photographs.“We called the THP’s CIRT team in to take another look at the crime scene where Mr. Cooksey’s body was found,” Ashe said. “With the recently found photos and today’s technology, by blood splatters and the condition of the body, they can make a determination of how the injuries are consistent with vehicular injuries or assault prior to.”The purpose of the visit to the scene was to try to back up the report given by the University of Tennessee’s Forensic Anthropology Center which examined Cooksey’s body after it was exhumed a few months ago for further investigation, Ashe said.Investigators said there is “every indication there was an altercation prior to the occasion,” and the experts are trying to find out if there were injuries before the car hit Cooksey.Ashe hopes the CIRT team investigators can give him information as to whether Cooksey was standing when hit or lying down, as well as if he had injuries prior to the vehicular contact.“Hopefully we will have the opportunity to present this recent information that we have compiled over the past several months to the D.A.,” Ashe added. “We have already met with the D.A. several times and are close to making a determination as to suspects.”Staff Writer Zack Owensby may be contacted at zowensby@wilsonpost.com.
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