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Arrest made in Jefferson Co. motel murder and fire

7:26 PM, Jan 9, 2013   |    comments
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A White Pine man has now been charged i n a murder and fire that happened at the Crown Inn in Jefferson County last year.

Jeffrey Burke was arrested Wednesday and charged with second degree murder, aggravated arson and abuse of a corpse.

After the fire, that happened in July, investigators discovered the body of 72-year-old Eddie White who lived at the motel.

According to the TBI, White was a friend of Burke.  An autopsy determined that White was dead prior to the fire and died from minor blunt force trauma that contributed to an existing heart condition. Investigators believe the fire was set in an attempt to cover up White's death.

Burke was booked into the Jefferson County Jail without bond.

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(Aug. 16, 2012) The death of a man who was found dead after a motel fire has been ruled a homicide.

The fire happened in July at the Crown Inn in White Pine.  The body of 72-year-old Eddie Taylor White, a resident of the motel, was found after the fire.

Now, according to White Pine Chief of Police Charles Epps, investigators have determined that White was dead before the fire began, and the fire was deliberately set.

The cause of White's death has not be positively determined, because of the condition of the body after the fire.

There is a person of interest in the case, though no charges have been filed.  Chief Epps says they will likely take their evidence to a grand jury to determine charges.  The grand jury meets at the end of August.

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A 72-year-old resident of a motel that burned this weekend may have died in the fire.

The fire happened Saturday at the Crown Inn on Phillips Road.  Firefighters were able to contain most of the damage to the lobby, where the body was discovered. 

According to White Pine Chief of Police Charles Epps, the victim has been tentatively identified as Eddie Taylor White.  White was a resident of the motel and was the only person unaccounted after the fire.  He was also seen in that area before the fire started.

An autopsy is being performed to confirm the identification.

The American Red Cross is opening a shelter to help people who were displaced by the fire.

The Red Cross says they have assisted 6 families so far with temporary shelter in another hotel.  However, they say since the building is still without power, they are opening a shelter at White Pine Elementary School on Monday.  Those affected by the fire can report to the school, located at 3060 Roy Messer Highway, for further assistance from the Red Cross.

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