Cumberland County quadruple murder suspect, girlfriend indicted

Cumberland County quadruple murder suspect, girlfriend indicted

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Jacob Allen Bennett (source: Cumberland County Sheriff's Office) Jacob Allen Bennett (source: Cumberland County Sheriff's Office)
Brittany Moser (source: Cumberland County Sheriff's Office) Brittany Moser (source: Cumberland County Sheriff's Office)
Brittany Moser entered a not guilty plea in court Friday morning. Brittany Moser entered a not guilty plea in court Friday morning.
Jacob Bennett's plea was not accepted. He was given a court-appointed attorney. Jacob Bennett's plea was not accepted. He was given a court-appointed attorney.

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

CROSSVILLE (WATE) - The suspect arrested last week in the murder of four people found shot to death in a car last week in Cumberland County attempted to plead guilty Friday morning after being indicted by a grand jury. A second suspect was also named and charged.

Jacob Allen Bennett, 26, was charged with four counts of first degree murder, four counts of felony murder, and two counts of attempted armed robbery.

Brittany Lina Yvonn Moser, 25, of Dayton, Tenn. was also indicted on the felony murder and attempted armed robbery charges. Officials say Moser is Bennett's girlfriend.

At an arraignment Friday morning, Bennett stated he wanted to plead guilty and did not want an attorney. The judge said he was reluctant to accept a plea without an attorney and appointed him one anyway.

A decision on accepting Bennett's plea will be made on another date. His next court hearing is scheduled for Oct. 3.

The district attorney says the state may seek the death penalty.

"Certainly it's something that we will be looking at both defendants. And that's where we are, obviously, with the defendant Bennett. This is an enhanced punishment case so does the DA's office seek life without parole or death?" said Deputy District Attorney Gary McKenzie.

Moser's arraignment was also held Friday. She pleaded not guilty and received a court-appointed attorney. Her next court date is also Oct. 3.

Family members wept as the judge read the charges against the suspects.

"I think they're pleased that we're proceeding as quickly as we possibly can," said District Attorney General Randall York. "We don't want to rush to judgment but we felt it was important to call a special session of the grand jury and move forward."

Both Bennett and Moser are facing felony murder charges, even though it's believed Bennett was the only one pulling the trigger. That's because law enforcement believes Moser knew all about the planned robbery, making her guilty of the murders that happened as a result of the robbery.

"If an individual walks into a convenience store to do a robbery and something goes wrong, the clerk fires a gun on that individual, and fires and kills the clerk, he is guilty of felony first degree murder. The idea is if you create those dangerous circumstances, then you're on the hook for the same type of punishment if you would have," said McKenzie.

Both suspects are being held in the Cumberland County Jail without bond.

The victims, Rikki Jacobsen, Steven Presley, Domonic Davis and John Lajeunesse, were found shot to death last week in a car in Renegade Mountain.

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the two counts of attempted aggravated robbery stem from Bennett and Moser attempting to rob Jacobsen and Davis during a marijuana exchange.

Bennett was arrested on a parole violation in Rhea County last week.

Moser was arrested Friday morning at her residence at 1872 Railroad Street in Dayton.

Community Reaction

The Cumberland County Jets played the Rhea County Eagles Friday night and while the teams battled it out on the field, in the stands, fans from both counties reflected on the quadruble murders.

"There's been a real solemn tone, people just want justice for the victims," said Cumberland County High School senior Logan Parsons.

"It's just scary to think something like that can happen up here," said Rhea County High School senior Tyler McPherson.

CCHS parents were relieved to hear of Friday's indictment.

"I feel blessed for those families that los their children knowing that somebody is going to be held accountable for taking their lives," said CCHS parent Kim Tabor.

Bennett was arrested in Rhea County last week while Moser was arrested at her Dayton home in Rhea County Friday morning.

According to her Facebook page she graduated from Rhea County High School in 2006, but students at Friday's game didn't know her.

"I've never heard of her or the guy," said McPherson.

While school activities carry on, students say the death of their classmates still hasn't sunk in.

"It still really hasn't hit me that [Dominic Davis] is gone. I still think I'm going to see him," said friend Taonna Miller.

According to the TBI, Bennett and Moser were attempting to rob two of the victims during a marijuana exchange. But many parents and classmates hope more information will come out as to how and why this tragedy happened.

"You worry for your kids, as far as their safety," said Tom Cravens, a CCHS parent. "I'm sure it's safe now but you really want to know why this happened and make sure it can't happen again."

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