Parents dead, teen charged

Sibling: Mom, dad coddled brother

Sumner County Couple Murdered: A 17-year-old has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of parents.

Dwight Vinson had a bad feeling about his son’s new friend from the first moment they were introduced.
“On his second or third visit, I told my son that he needed to stay away from him, that there was something wrong with him,” said Vinson, 65, of Cross Plains. “Every time the subject of his mom and dad came up, he would shut down. It was like he didn’t want to go home. You could tell that they didn’t get along in some way.”
Vinson’s son, Chase, 21, and his friend, a 17-year-old from Cottontown, are now charged with first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of the teenager’s parents, Gary Moore, 54, and his wife, Tammy, 51. Investigators say the couple was killed inside their home off Highway 25 in Sumner County sometime Monday.
A photo of the crime scene taken from Highway 25 near Cottontown in Sumner County shows crime tape surrounding the front of the home of the couple who was killed Monday. / Shelley Mays / The Tennessean

“Between the two, they had shot the parents and taken off with jewelry, guns and prescription medication,” said Maj. Don Linzy of the Sumner County Sheriff’s Department. “Then, they tried to set the bedroom, where the deaths were, on fire, and they had stolen the white pickup truck off the property.”
The teen was found inside a vehicle at a Robertson County gas station around 4:30 p.m. on Monday after an unidentified person called the sheriff’s office there and reported he was unconscious.
He was taken to NorthCrest Medical Center in Springfield, said Lt. Richard Head with the Robertson County Sheriff’s Office.
“Once he was at the hospital, we found identification on him and contacted Sumner County Sheriff’s Office to find the parents,” Head said.
Sumner deputies went to the family’s home and discovered the couple’s bodies.
Police took the 17-year-old into custody Monday night and arrested Vinson at his Cross Plains address at about 2 a.m. Tuesday. A third suspect could be charged, Linzy said.
On Tuesday, Justin Moore, 27, the eldest son of Gary and Tammy Moore, was on his way to Tennessee from his home in Maryland.
He said he hopes his brother is transferred to adult court. The Tennessean does not identify criminal suspects under 18 unless they are charged in adult court.
“Mom and dad always protected him, even when he did stupid things. They protected us all,” Justin Moore said. “But he shot our parents, and tried burning them. I don’t know if I can ever forgive him. My biggest thing is how does someone do that to his own parents?”
Justin Moore, who works in security and networking with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said he and his siblings grew up in a loving home — much of the time in Scottsville, Ky. The family has lived in Tennessee for about a year and a half. In addition to the 17-year-old, Justin Moore has a 26-year-old sister and a 21-year-old brother.
Gary and Tammy Moore moved to Tennessee to be closer to Gary Moore’s work. He was a truck driver and his wife was a stay-at-home mother.
Justin Moore said his parents began having problems when his youngest brother became a teenager and started hanging out with the wrong crowd.
“The last couple of years, he’s been staying in trouble,” he added. “My parents tried the best they could with him, but it wasn’t enough.”
Linzy said police had responded to calls from the Moores’ Sumner County home on previous occasions, but he declined to discuss the nature of the calls.
In Kentucky, detective Chad Keen with the Allen County Sheriff’s Office said officers there also had responded to calls from the Moores’ home, which was about five miles outside the city limits of Scottsville.
On Feb. 14, 2009, police were called to the home to investigate a missing person’s case. Tammy Moore reported that her 14-year-old son had taken $5,000 from a lock box and run away, records show.
Sumner County officials say the home the Moores rented near Cottontown was the same home that Chase Vinson lived in at one point. Detectives think it’s how the teenager met Vinson.
Dwight Vinson said he and Chase had lived in Sumner County for about six years and then moved to Robertson County about three years ago. He wasn’t sure how his son met the 17-year-old, but they had been friends for only a few months. They often played mixed martial arts video games, Vinson said.
Chase Vinson, a 2008 graduate of East Robertson High School, had been trying to find a job but had not had much success. Family members said he was thinking about enrolling at Western Kentucky University.
“He was so smart, that boy,” Dwight Vinson said. “He graduated in the Beta club.”
Chase Vinson’s grandmother Sheila Raines, of Orlinda, said her grandson wouldn’t hurt anyone.
“In school he was known as the gentle giant,” she said. “From what we have been told by the police, they know that Chase didn’t do it. This kid asked Chase if he would kill his parents and Chase said ‘No.’ As Chase was going out to the car, he heard shots and went back to see that this kid did shoot the parents. Rather than leave him, he didn’t.”
In addition to two counts of first-degree murder, Chase Vinson and the 17-year-old are also charged with aggravated arson and theft exceeding $10,000.
Both are scheduled to appear in court today for bond hearings. Vinson is on the general sessions docket and the 17-year-old is on the juvenile docket in Sumner County.
Tennessean staff writer Andy Humbles and Gannett Tennessee staff writer Dessislava Yankova contributed to this report. Contact Nicole Young at 615-259-8091 or nyoung@tennessean.com.

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