Cold case unit gives old crimes fresh looks

9:07 PM, Apr 30, 2013   |    comments
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The Knox County Sheriff's Office and Knoxville Police Department have combined their resources to help bring justice to the victims in cold cases.

The unit came together in 2011 and now has officers and deputies dedicated to interviewing and reviewing evidence-- some from as far back as the 1960's.

The cold case unit is currently going through about 200 cases, trying to give them new life. Chief Investigator David Davenport says, contrary to what people see on television, they're cracking cases thanks to old school "shoe leather and pen ink."

Three recent arrests are evidence of their hard work, says KCSO Chief Deputy Eddie Biggs, and it's important work.

"Along the way, if they kill one they may very well kill another and you know, that's the purpose, to get these people off the street," said Biggs. "We remember that these people have families they've got friends, people that care about them."

Their most recent arrest came in the case of Courtney Duncan, a 23-year-old man who was shot to death in 1993

It was early in the morning on November 6, and Duncan was awake in a Walter P. Taylor Homes apartment with several other people.

A man knocked on the door, asking for someone who didn't live there and then began shooting. Duncan was killed.

On March 23, 2013 investigators arrested James McKenzie for allegedly shooting Duncan.

KCSO Cpt. Edd Stair believes the murder was in retaliation for a robbery McKenzie suspected Duncan participated in a week earlier.

Stair says it was new witnesses and a fresh look at ballistics that cracked the case.

KPD Investigator Jeff Day notified Duncan's family.

"They had probably given up hope that anything was going to happen," said Day. "That's what it's all about, that's why we're here."

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