New Law May Clear Way For 2nd Autopsy In Cold Case

A new state law might bring prosecutors one step more detailed to finding answers in a 15-year-old cold case.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam recently signed legislation that had been pushed by a local district lawyer. The DA had actually re-opened the investigation into 15-month-old Jeffry Kelton Skaggs’ death. NewsChannel 5 Investigates first raised concerns about it more than years back.

“It’s a good idea for the fact to come out,” said veteran Nashville attorney David Raybin.

The brand-new law, which worked on July 1st, clears up issues about whether the DA even can request a second autopsy or how  can I sue my bank.

24s5For months, the regional DA’s demand to exhume the body buried in a Hickman County cemetery has been clouded by legal uncertainty– unpredictability that Raybin said has been erased by the brand-new law. “I don’t believe this law is going to promote numerous more exhumations, however what it will do is bring justice to a case that has quite actually been buried,” Raybin said. Jeffry Kelton Skaggs suffered a deadly blow to the head inside a Maury County trailer in 2001. Medical examiner Dr. Charles Harlan, who later lost his permit for incompetence, ruled it a mishap.

Our investigation found that other specialists disagreed.

“We had injuries that did not match the stories, the multiple stories offered,” said previous State Medical Examiner Dr. Bruce Levy.

The Tennessee State Medical Board shared that issue, as did retired Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Larry Wallace.

“The kid’s actual manner of death was the result of non-accidental injury,” Wallace read from the Medical Board’s findings.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked, “Meaning?”

“Meaning that in the judgment of the authors of this short article it was a homicide,” he answered.

“Murder?” we asked.

“It was murder,” he concurred.

The DA at the time, Mike Bottoms, chose not to order a 2nd autopsy.

“So what about this little boy exactly and what if you’re incorrect sir?” NewsChannel 5 Investigates had actually asked, drawing a shrug from Bottoms.


But Bottoms’ successor came to a various conclusions after evaluating NewsChannel 5’s investigation and doing his own digging.

“The more we looked at it, the much deeper we got into it, the more we realized this is a murder investigation,” Cooper stated.

Cooper agreed in 2014 to re-open the case; however Kelton’s mother chose not to support a 2nd autopsy.

And the DA found that– because the child was pronounced dead in an Alabama medical facility, then buried in another county– the laws may not permit him to exhume the body.

Raybin stated, “The law was old-fashioned because many people died in the county where they were killed.”

However with the brand-new law, Raybin believes a judge will ultimately enable justice for Jeffry Kelton Skaggs.

“What possible reason could you have in not taking a second look at something like that? If it was a homicide, the killer might still be loose and hurting someone else.”

Cooper has actually asked a Maury County judge to order that second autopsy.

So far, no hearing has actually been set up.

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