The man charged in Nikki burgess’s murder appeared in court Thursday, and his former cellmate testified against him.
Caleb Cannon is accused of killing the Burgess, who is the mother of his child, more than two years ago.
Cannon’s former cellmate told the court he beat and strangled Burgess before taking her body to Knoxville for disposal.
The inmate testified that Cannon went to Burgess' Hermitage home where they argued over alimony and custody.
He went on to tell the court, Cannon beat her with brass knuckles and strangled her then put her in the bathroom.
Burgess’ close friend, Shannon Million, was in the courtroom Thursday.
“By the time it happened there were a couple different reactions from people,” Million said. “One is shock to hear the details that he had to tell on the stand.”
Cannon’s former cellmate also told the court he took Burgess’ body to a Knoxville farm and used a meat grinder to dispose of her body.
“A part of you wants to scream,” Million said. “A part of you wants to have a heart attack. A part of you wants to cry.”
Burgess was last seen at her Hermitage home in 2014. Her car was found nearby on Oak Vale Drive.
Witnesses reported seeing two men carrying something out of her home the day she disappeared.
Cannon was later named a person of interest in the case and arrested in October of 2015. He has been charged with first degree murder. During the investigation police used K9 dogs to search for evidence.
Thursday in court, Cannon's attorney spent much of the hearing trying to throw out evidence that a cadaver dog "hit" on what was human remains in Cannon's trunk.
Burgess’s body has not been found. Cannon’s hearing is expected to continue next week.