TBI Makes Arrest In Jefferson County Motel Fire Death Investigation

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation arrested a Jefferson County man after he was indicted by the Jefferson County grand jury earlier this month on charges involving a murder and fire at a White Pine motel last year.

Jeffrey Burke, 16, of White Pine was arrested Wednesday and charged with second-degree murder, aggravated arson and abuse of a corpse. On June 30, 2012, Jefferson County 911 received a call that the Crown Inn, at 1148 Phillips Road in White Pine, was on fire. 

After the fire department responded and extinguished the fire, a body was discovered inside the office area. The victim was later identified as 72-year-old Eddie White who lived at the motel and was reportedly friends with Burke. An autopsy determined that Mr. 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. TBI investigated the case along with the White Pine Police Department.

Burke was booked into the Jefferson County Jail without bond.

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