The third murder case in Soddy Daisy's history was bound to the Grand Jury on Tuesday night after Soddy Daisy detectives said 19-year-old Keith Lee Stewart admitted involvement in the death of 24-year-old Casey Burgiss.
Detectives said Stewart at first denied any involvement in the murder, then led authorities to the body at "the Devil's Pocket" about 600 yards from his home on Layne Road.
Judge Marty Lasley said there was adequate proof to send the criminal homicide case on, and he kept the bond at $750,000.
Detectives said the last day anyone saw Burgiss was July 21, and his mother reported the father of three missing on July 29.
Detective Mike Sneed said he was told by a number of individuals that Stewart was involved, and he said he briefly interviewed him in his driveway in August and he denied any knowledge.
The lead detective on the case, Dennis Waters, said he also kept getting reports that Stewart had knowledge of the killing and where the body could be found. He said he had him come in for an interview.
The detective said Stewart kept changing his story after starting out that two black guys named Jazz and Dee and a third black male had taken him and Burgiss to Chattanooga and shot Burgiss on a parking lot.
He said Stewart finally admitted that the tale about the three black males was bogus and said that he, Jason Doss and Lebron Lewis lured Burgiss to the Devil's Pocket sinkhole to rob him. He said after they arrived Lewis "flipped out" and shot the victim in the head. He said in another version he pinpointed Doss as the shooter.
The detective said Stewart stated that Burgiss was shot in the head and it was a small-caliber chrome handgun used. He said those facts were correct. He was shot twice in the head. Three 25mm shell casings were found in the sinkhole and a chrome 25mm handgun was found at Stewart's home, where he lived with his parents.
He said Stewart stated that they got $200 from robbing Burgiss, but he declined to take any of the money.
Detective Waters said he interviewed both Doss and Lewis and they deny any involvement. He said their homes were searched without turning up any evidence. He said there is no other evidence against them except the word of Stewart, but he said the investigation is "ongoing."
Detective Sneed, who said Burgiss was involved in drug sales and apparently had been in drug deals with Stewart, told of going with Stewart to find the body. He said they climbed down an embankment and went around some boulders. He said he did not see the body, so he asked Stewart to come down and help locate it. He said when a flashlight was shined in a small room he could see an object that could be a body.
He said he asked Stewart, "Is that Casey?"
Stewart replied, "Who else would it be?"
Detective Sneed said he went through an opening, then there was a dropoff of 6-8 feet. He said at that point, "I seen a body in the hole."
He said an officer was left to stand guard, while additional personnel were brought to the scene for the recovery of the body.
At the close of the hearing attorney Brandon Raulston said there was no evidence that Stewart was involved in the murder.
Prosecutor Cameron Williams argued that it was a case of felony murder that could land the young defendant 51 years in prison.