Man Charged With Murder Of Tullahoma Nursing Student
FRANKLIN COUNTY, Tenn. – A man has been charged in the murder of a Tullahoma nursing student.
Authorities said 37-year-old Donnie Frank Jones, Jr. was indicted Monday afternoon by the Franklin County Grand Jury in the death of 24-year-old Megan Sharpton. The announcement was made a press conference on Tuesday morning.
Jones, who was previously considered a person of interest, was charged with first-degree murder, felony murder, two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping and two counts of aggravated rape. Authorities said results from evidence sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation crime lab led to the arrest.
"We've known for several months who our guy was," said Franklin County Sheriff Tim Fuller.
"I'm very grateful for this day, and the people that brought us here," Sharpton's mother Kelly said with tears in her eyes. "I don't know if there's ever closure."
Jones had been held since September on $100,000 bond at the Coffee County Jail on an unrelated charge of felony possession of a weapon.
He was transferred from the Coffee County jail to the Franklin County jail Monday night, where he will be held without bond until a hearing on November 16.
Authorities said Jones was "very meek, didn't have a lot to say, and shed a few tears during the booking process."
The indictment comes as a culmination of a four month investigation conducted by the Franklin County Sheriff's Office in conjunction with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the 12th Judicial District Attorney's Office as well as assistance from the Tullahoma Police Department and the Bedford County Sheriff's Office.
Sharpton's partially burned body was found July 2 on the Awalt Bridge in Franklin County. Her car was found later the same day about 20 miles away. Her death was ruled a homicide and detectives said preliminary reports indicated that Sharpton died of blunt force trauma.
She was supposed to have lunch with her sister the day before she disappeared.
Sharpton's mother had previously told NewsChannel 5 that Jones had ties to her daughter through his wife. She said her daughter and Naomi Jones carpooled from Tullahoma to nursing school in Murfreesboro.
Authorities said Jones has 21 felony convictions on various charges including burglary, forgery, and attempted rape.