KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A husband and wife have been found guilty of murder for the death of an elderly relative.
Christopher and Evelyn Kennedy were convicted following a four-day trial for the 2019 neglect death of Betty Crews. According to Roane County District Attorney Russell Johnson, Crews was Evelyn’s aunt and lived off and on with the Kennedys for over thirty years. Both Kennedys were found guilty of felony murder which carries a life sentence.
In April 2019, Evelyn’s Daughter called 911, and Crews was admitted to Roane Medical Center in Harriman. At the time, the DA said she was wearing only a “putrid and tattered oversized shirt.” She was also emaciated and suffering from malnutrition and neglect. Despite attempts to treat her, Crews died on June 7, 2019.
During the Roane County trial, Knox Regional Forensic Center Director and Chief Medical Examiner Darinka Mileusenic-Polchan said Crews’ death was the result of complications from long-term starvation and dehydration. According to Mileusenic-Polchan, the damage was so bad she could not recover even while being treated for two months at RMC.
Testimony at trial also revealed the Kennedys took Crews’ social security disability checks the entire time she was in their home.
On the fourth and final day of the trial, the DA explained that Christopher failed to show. He had posted bond after his initial arrest and was not in police custody.
Following the return of the guilty verdict, Roane County Criminal Court Judge Jeff Wicks sentenced Evelyn, who was in the courtroom, to life in prison, which means she will not be eligible for parole for at least 51 years. She will also be sentenced for the second charge of aggravated neglect of an elderly adult on November 18th.
Since Christopher was not present in court, a warrant was issued for his arrest. The Roane County Sheriff’s Office is searching for him. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact Roane County 911.