Tullahoma Motel Deaths Ruled As Double Murder - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Tullahoma Motel Deaths Ruled As Double Murder


by Brent Frazier

TULLAHOMA, Tenn. – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation ruled the two deaths inside a Coffee County motel room a double homicide Sunday. Now the search is on for a killer.

A family friend made the gruesome discovery around 10 a.m. Saturday at the Quality Inn on North Jackson Street in Tullahoma. That friend, who gained access to the room by getting a key from the front desk, grew concerned when one of the murder victims did not show for a land sale meeting that morning in nearby Decherd, Tennessee.

"We've got a quiet community," said Billy Cook, an investigator from the office of the district attorney general on Saturday.

Cook told NewsChannel 5 the victims were identified as 50-year-old Richard Elliott of Estill Springs and 34-year-old Timothy Gill of Winchester. The two had been staying inside room 123 for roughly the last six weeks.

The two victims were found lying on top of their respective beds. They had each been shot to death. Investigators said there was no sign of forced entry and no signs of a struggle within the motel room.

"Both of these individuals had been staying here a month, month-and-a-half at least," said Cook. "They had been staying here at the hotel, living here at the hotel."

By sunset Saturday, investigators with the Tullahoma Police Department had turned over the investigation to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. By Sunday afternoon, the case was being prosecuted as a double homicide, according to Kristin Helm, a TBI spokeswoman.

Franklin County Sheriff Tim Fuller told NewsChannel 5 Elliott had been arrested and housed in the county facility many times. Some of his offenses included theft, four arrests for the manufacture of methamphetamine, public intoxication and burglary.

Gill had been arrested for public intoxication, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, DUI, possession of marijuana and one time for promotion of the manufacturing of methamphetamine.

Despite lengthy arrest records, family members on the scene Saturday had no clear idea of why someone would want the men dead. Grady Gill, the father of victim Tim Gill, told NewsChannel 5 that victim Richard Elliott had recently come into some family money; he had even been known to boast about being loaded down with cash, according to folks who knew him.

"He has a lot of money on him, I guess… if [the suspects] didn't get it," Gill said. "He's got a couple checks cashed, they was way up there, too. Well, I know he cashed one that was $4,100 – I mean $2,000."

Grady Gill said it was that newfound wealth that led Elliott to the motel room. He said that even Gill's own grandchildren and Elliott's wife – all from neighboring Franklin County – had slept there a time or two.

"She's been staying over here," said Grady Gill. "I'm glad she wasn't here. The kids [have also] been over here!"

He said his son, Tim, lost his wife roughly five years ago from a drug overdose. Tim had custody of his own 12-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter, who now have no parents whatsoever.

Whether robbery was a motive or not, investigators believed the two men were likely a target, and that the shooting was not random.

"But no, we don't suspect that it's a crazed gunman that's out here just killing people randomly," said Cook.

Anyone with information about the deaths should call the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Email: bfrazier@newschannel5.com

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