CLAIBORNE COUNTY – A joint investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office, and the Tazewell Police Department has resulted in the arrest of three people in connection to the murder of a Tazewell man.
On February 22nd, at the request of 8th District Attorney General Jared Effler, TBI Agents began working alongside detectives with the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office and the Tazewell Police Department in investigating the death of Aaron Jeremiah Massengill (DOB 3/30/92), after his body was discovered along Ferguson Ridge Road in Tazewell. An autopsy revealed that Massengill died as a result of a gunshot wound. During the course of the investigation, authorities developed Patrick Andrew Smith (DOB 8/21/94), Courtney L. Gilpin (DOB 9/11/97), and Jimmy Lee Riffe (DOB 4/26/84) as suspects in the case. Further investigation revealed that the suspects were at a residence in Sullivan County. On Friday, with the assistance of the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, all three were taken into custody. The victim’s vehicle was also recovered at the residence.
Today, warrants were obtained for Smith, Gilpin, and Riffe, charging all three with one count of First Degree Murder, one count of Aggravated Robbery, and one count of Conspiracy to Commit Robbery. Riffe and Gilpin are being held in the Claiborne County Jail. Smith is currently being held in the Sullivan County Jail, awaiting transport back to Claiborne County.
At this time, the investigation remains active and ongoing.