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Arrest Made In Wilson County Cold Case

Posted at 12:55 PM, Jan 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-13 22:25:50-05

An arrest has been made in connection with a Wilson County cold case from more than a decade ago.

Officials with the Wilson County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday they have charged Lawton McNutt with the shooting death of 82-year-old James Hill.

Hill was fatally shot once in the back on November 19, 2002.

The incident happened while Hill was target practicing with firearms on a friend's property off East Salisbury Road. His dog, Beauregard, was with him at the time. 

The victim had a collection of expensive guns that he would apparently take with him when shooting. The weapons, along with his wallet, were reportedly stolen. 

Investigators said they were able to connect McNutt to the crime because of advances in technology in the last 13 years. Sources said a latent fingerprint from the scene matched McNutt's. Officials would not confirm or deny the information. 

McNutt, from Kingsport, was convicted of attempted murder in a different case in 2003 and was sentenced to 20 years. He was released in 2013. 

Officials said McNutt was already incarcerated in the Hickman County Jail for an unrelated theft charge from September 2015. He had been held on $25,000 bond. However, the judge ordered McNutt held without bond in the death of Hill.

McNutt has been charged with one felony count of criminal homicide and first degree murder.