WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal revealed Tuesday afternoon that a man has been arrested and indicted by a Washington County grand jury in the Boones Creek triple murder case.
Derrick Benjamin Sells, age 33 of Fall Branch, TN, is facing multiple charges in the shooting deaths of Kyanna Vaughn, 23, and Robert Vaughn, 25.
Earlier this month, Graybeal revealed Kyanna Vaughn and her husband, Robert Vaughn, were found dead in their home on Friendship Court.
Deputies also found their two children, a girl and a boy, ages three and six unharmed inside the home.
Investigators revealed Kyanna Vaughn was six months pregnant at the time, which made it a triple homicide investigation.
“In Tennessee, an unborn child is recognized as a person. So all the charges that we could charge the two adults as far as their killing, we included the child in that,” said District Attorney General Tony Clark.
According to a WCSO news release, investigators with the sheriff’s office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation determined Sells to be a suspect in the case and found that he and Robert Vaughn had been communicating with each other the same night the shootings took place.
“The husband and him were friends as far as we know and they had been talking that evening back and forth on the phone and he told him he was going to come over,” Sheriff Graybeal said.
The sheriff’s office said a motive to the shootings remains under investigation, but said it is believed that Sells took several personal items belonging to Robert Vaughn from the home after the shootings.
Investigators believe the shootings took place on Dec. 3, but the Vaughn’s were not discovered until Dec. 4. Their two children were reportedly inside the home alone for more than 24 hours.
After Sells was developed as a suspect, on Dec. 9 WCSO investigators, along with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, conducted surveillance of him.
Sells reportedly had an active violation of probation from Sullivan County and was stopped and arrested by SCSO deputies.
A handgun was found under Sell’s driver’s seat. He was charged in Sullivan County with violation of probation, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and simple possession of marijuana.
He was jailed in Sullivan County without bond.
After his arrest, investigators served a warrant at Sell’s home on Branch Road in Kingsport and seized multiple items related to the homicide.
The items were then sent to the TBI lab for testing.
Working with District Attorney Tony Clark, a special grand jury was called on Monday morning to present the case for indictment.
Sells was charged with three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of felony murder, unlawful possession of a weapon, especially aggravated robbery and aggravated child neglect.
He will be booked into the Washington County Detention Center, where he will be held on $1 million bond pending his arraignment in Washington County Criminal Court.