(WBIR-Crossville) Two people are now charged with a quadruple murder in Cumberland County. The man accused of pulling the trigger told the judge he does not want a lawyer and tried to immediately plead guilty.
Friday a grand jury indicted 26-year-old Jacob Bennett and his girlfriend, 25-year-old Brittany Moser, on charges of murder and attempted robbery. The couple is blamed for the deaths of four people who were found shot and killed in a car on Renegade Mountain in Cumberland County last week.
Investigators arrested Bennett last Friday for violating his parole and announced they believed he was the shooter. While Bennett's indictment by a grand jury was anticipated, it was not until Friday morning that investigators revealed a second person would also be charged with the murders. Moser was arrested at her home in Dayton, TN, on Friday morning and was arraigned in the afternoon in Crossville.
Both Moser and Bennett are charged with four counts of felony murder and two counts of attempted aggravated robbery. The indictment states they attempted to rob victims Rikki Jacobsen and Domonic Davis of marijuana. The 22-year-old Jacobsen was driving the car that was found with the 17-year-old Davis, 17-year-old Steve Presley, and 16-year-old John Lajeunesse all dead inside the vehicle.
As the accused trigger-man, Bennett also faces four additional charges of premeditated murder.
Both Bennett and Moser are being held without bond.
During Bennett's arraignment, he told the judge that he could not afford a lawyer and did not want one. When the judge asked how he planned to go forward without an attorney, Bennett stunned the courtroom when he abruptly announced "guilty."
"I've investigated a lot of homicides," said Casey Cox with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office. "Normally on arraignment, that was, it [Bennett's admission of guilt] was a shock to me."
The prosecution made it known that it is still deciding whether to pursue the death penalty. Therefore, the judge decided to appoint Bennett an attorney for now and continue the arraignment on October 3. That would give Bennett a couple of weeks to learn all of his legal rights and all of the possible outcomes from a guilty plea. The prosecution agreed with the judge's decision to delay the arraignment.
"Our job is to move forward with justice," said district attorney Randy York. "That also means protecting the defendant's rights, which is what happened this morning and the case was continued. Making sure he has an opportunity to speak with counsel and knowingly enter a plea, whatever that plea may be."
The investigator in the case categorized the killings as a "robbery gone bad" with the caveat that there is reason to believe Bennett went to Renegade Mountain with the intention of killing someone.
"I believe it was an intention, I believe it was a robbery gone bad, but also with the intention of committing murder," said Cox. "He [Bennett] knew the driver of the vehicle [Jacobsen]. He had met one of the passengers in the past, but he knew the driver of the vehicle."
When Moser was asked if she understood the charges against her, she told the judge she did not rob or kill anyone. Investigators say she was present when the murders took place and facilitated the events in some fashion to be elaborated upon in future hearings.
Moser pleaded not guilty, was appointed a lawyer, and is being held without bond. Her next court date is also set for October 3.