Was a Cumberland County man beaten to death because he was gay?

Was a Cumberland County man beaten to death because he was gay?

Jackie Ray Jones (source: family) Jackie Ray Jones (source: family)

6 News Reporter

CROSSVILLE (WATE) – Jackie Ray Jones, known in town as "Jock Jones," was found severely beaten on a very cold night in January 2003. He later died in a hospital.

Police think he was targeted because he was gay, but they may never find out because the main suspect in the case was also murdered a few years later.

Jock's brother, Ed, still lives in Crossville. He says even when they were young it was tough for Jock to fit in.

"He was different from all the other brothers and sisters. He always wanted to wear ladies clothes, but no one thought much of it," Ed Jones said.

Ed says as they got older, there were incidents in school because of his sexual orientation.

Jock moved to Knoxville for several years, but moved back to Crossville when his mother became ill.

Ed says when Jock came back, so did his old problems. "Well you've heard the expression, rednecks and gays don't get along. That sums up what he had to deal with the whole time he was here."

Jock was found badly beaten in an alley close to downtown Crossville.

Maj. Mark Rosser, with the Crossville Police Department, believes Jock was walking back to his home from Mister Ed's night club, where he spent a few hours that night.

The main suspect in the beating was a man named Sam Pugh, Jr.

Pugh had been in trouble for beating up another gay man at the same club two weeks before Jock was found.

"Pugh did not like gay people at all. He was messing with drugs as well," Ed Jones said.

But there was never enough evidence to connect Pugh with the crime.

Ironically, Pugh was found murdered in his apartment a few years later over a separate incident.

With Pugh's death, the investigation into Jock's murder grew cold. There was never any evidence to say Pugh did it. And there was never any evidence to say anyone else did either.

"That's the biggest thing that bothers me. We don't know if he did it or not," Ed Jones said.

Crossville police believe someone in town knows what happened that night and can help close the case.

If you have information, call 931-484-1020.

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