A 1979 cold case murder was a contract killing with ties to Tennessee governor's office, DA says
June 10, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
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Authorities in Tennessee say they've solved the 42-year-old murder of a Chattanooga businessman, calling the cold case a "contract murder" with ties to former Tennessee Gov. Ray Blanton's administration.
Samuel Pettyjohn was shot four times and killed on February 1, 1979, in what investigators described as "an execution-style hit," according to a news release from the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston said that at the time of his death, Pettyjohn was part of a federal probe into a pardon and parole scheme involving Blanton.
The case remained unsolved and in 2015 when the cold case unit began a review and investigation of all events surrounding the homicide of Pettyjohn, according to the news release.
During the investigation, officials interviewed several cooperating individuals who said Alley admitted being paid between $25,000 and $50,000 for murdering Pettyjohn, the release said.
"Pettyjohn knew too much about illegal activities and his cooperation with federal authorities placed other individuals' freedom, including that of Governor Ray Blanton, at severe risk," the news release said.