Man gets life sentence in murder over $63 for drug buy


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Killing a man for $63 nets a first-degree murder verdict and a life prison sentence for a man who stole the money to buy drugs.

A Knox County jury found Steven Michael Simpson, 46, guilty of first-degree murder and especially aggravated robbery after a three-day trial.

Knox County prosecutors said Simpson killed his victim by hitting him with a jack handle and stabbing him 21 times in April 2018.

Knox County Judge Scott Green imposed a life sentence for the murder verdict and set a Nov. 22 sentencing hearing for the robbery conviction.

Prosecutors said Simpson used the $63 from the victim’s wallet to buy crack cocaine and methamphetamine.

Prosecutors also said Simpson tried to clean up the crime scene with bleach and destroy evidence by throwing the murder weapons and bloody clothes into a dumpster on Moody Avenue.

“This victim was brutally murdered after he gave Simpson a place to stay,” said Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen. “Thanks to the hard work of everyone involved in this case, the defendant now has a place to stay for the rest of his life.”

Simpson’s life sentence means he must serve at least 51 years in prison before he can meet with the parole board. Especially aggravated robbery is a Class A felony that carries a punishment of 15 to 25 years in prison without the possibility of parole, according to a news release from the district attorney’s office.


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