Suspect charged with first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse

SUMMITVILLE, TN (WBIR, WSMV) - Coffee County authorities charged a man with first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse after he told investigators he dismembered a woman's body, buried her torso, and ate part of the victim after he murdered her.

Sheriff Steve Graves said deputies learned about the murder Sunday night as Gregory Scott Hale, 37, allegedly sought help disposing of the body. WSMV reported that deputies believe the murder happened at Hale's home near the Warren County line between Manchester and McMinnville.

Some of the details about the murder were so gruesome, even the assistant district attorney couldn't talk about them Monday, according to WSMV.

"We are very early in the investigation," assistant DA Marla Holloway told WSMV Monday. "The officers were out late last night into the early hours of the morning gathering information."

According to an affidavit, Hale admitted to murdering the woman, dismembering her body, burning her torso in a burn pile at his home, and then eating part of the victim after he murdered her. Officials received a tip reporting that the murder happened on or around Friday.

Several neighbors told WSMV that Hale was a sick man. One neighbor even called him a devil worshiper, which authorities are also hearing.

"We will certainly be looking into everything that we're hearing," said Holloway. "As you can imagine, the things that you're hearing are the same things that we're hearing."

Officials took the woman's body to the medical examiner's office in Nashville for analysis. Authorities aren't releasing the victim's name until deputies can notify her family.

Hale is in custody at the Coffee County Jail on a $1.5 million bond. He's scheduled to appear in court June 23.


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