Authorities say written statements by Eric Azotea, 43, detailed how he killed a Sullivan County couple and dismembered their bodies.
The statements were read by a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent at a preliminary hearing Thursday afternoon in Carter County.
The details included in the statements may be disturbing to readers.
TBI agent Brian Fraley read two written statements from Azotea, detailing how he killed Art Gibson and Amber Terrell, dismembered their bodies, and burned them after researching online how to burn bodies.
According to the written statements, Azotea admitted he was buying meth from Gibson. Azotea’s writings indicate on January 7, Gibson and Terrell went to his home on Woodland Drive. Azotea said that Art was “acting strange as if he was high”.
He went on to say in his statement, Terrell showed him a gun. Azotea wrote that he wrestled the gun away from Terrell, shot her and stabbed Gibson. Then Azotea says he shot Terrell again as she tried to get away and then shot Gibson.
Azotea admitted in writing he cut up their bodies and spent several hours burning them.
He wrote that when the woman he lived with came home, he stopped what he was doing. Azotea wrote that what was left was Terrell’s torso and Art’s head, and he hid them in the crawl space.
Investigators found their remains in a crawl space under the Woodland Drive home on April 23.
Azotea said he gave the written statements so that immunity would be granted to the woman he lived with.
Azotea went on to admit in writing that he drove the Sullivan County couple’s Ford Escort to Big Springs Road in Carter County. He admitted he threw the keys and a necklace in dumpster at a Sunoco gas station and wrote he disassembled the gun and threw parts away in different places.
Investigators said in court, they used geolocation to track a phone used by Terrell and Gibson. According to detectives, the phone was last used at the Woodland Drive home where there remains were found.
The case has been bound over to the Grand Jury. The case will be presented to them on July 30.
Back in April, Azotea was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of abuse of a corpse and altering evidence.
District Attorney General Tony Clark, previously told News Channel 11, he is considering this as a capital case, which means they could seek the death penalty.
News Channel 11 was in the courtroom Thursday. Watch our video report beginning on the news at 5 p.m.
We’ll continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
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