State Seeks To Take Deposition Of Key Witness With Cancer In 17-Year-Old Cold Case Murder

Monday, October 23, 2017
Sarah Perry
Sarah Perry

The District Attorney's Office is asking to take the deposition of a key witness in a 17-year-old cold case murder, saying he has cancer that had spread from his brain to other parts of his body.

District Attorney Neal Pinkston said Michael Penterics has information in the case in which Jason Kirk Sanford, 44, of Westland, Mich, in charged in the June 2000 death of Sarah Lea (Davis) Perry.

Judge Tom Greenholtz asked that the state provide an affidavit giving more information about the condition of the witness. Another hearing will be next Monday morning.

DA Pinkston said the mother of Penterics gave information about his declining health to a Michigan police officer, who passed it on to his office.

He said Penterics earlier gave information about the case to detectives and is willing to testify, but may no longer be able to travel.

Defense attorney Johnny Houston raised issues about the current ability of the witness to testify since it was reported he had brain surgery.

Ms. Perry, who was 21 when she died, was last seen on the morning of Wednesday, June 14, 2000. The following afternoon two 12-year old boys playing in Spring Creek off the 1600 block of Springvale Avenue in East Ridge came upon a garbage can. One of the boys dared the other to open the lid. Inside the can was the partially nude body of Sarah Perry. The young mother, who had two small boys of her own, had been strangled. 

Just a few hours before she disappeared, Ms. Perry called East Ridge Police (at 4:11 a.m. on Wednesday, June 14, 2000) to request they check her home on Lockhart Lane for her estranged boyfriend, Jason Sanford. She said Sanford had threatened to hurt her and was trying to find her. An hour later, at 5:11 a.m., a police officer stopped to talk to her as she walked along the 6400 block of Ringgold Road. She told the officer Sanford was angry because she had ended their relationship. Several other witnesses reported seeing Ms. Perry in East Ridge. She was last seen alive at 8:30 that morning.  

The following evening, June 15, 2000, a few hours after the discovery of Ms. Perry’s body, Sanford bought a one-way ticket and boarded a Greyhound bus to Detroit. He has since been living in the Detroit metro area.  

Ms. Perry's mother, Pam Hilton, contacted the Cold Case Unit.  Detective Brian Ashburn, who is assigned to the CCU by Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond, talked with her and then began a review of the case file. He said he quickly recognized the case could be solved.  

Detective Ashburn and CCU investigator Michael Ray went to Detroit to conduct interviews in the case, then CCU Supervisor Mike Mathis presented the case to the Grand Jury.  

Sanford has been back in Hamilton County since August of last year, but a trial date has not yet been set.

Jason Sanford
Jason Sanford

Top Chattanooga Salaries For 2018

Here are the top Chattanooga salaries for 2018: Bean, Russell J City Judge $176,364.00 Paty, Sherry B City Judge $176,364.00 Berke, Andrew L   Mayor $168,348.90 Hinton, Wadrick Allen City Attorney $154,564 Madison, Daisy W Administrator City Finance Officer $148,381 Roddy, David T Police Chief $144,460 Hill, Corinne M   Director ... (click for more)

Van Buren County Man Charged With Sexual Exploitation Of A Minor

A joint investigation by special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department and the Tennessee Department of Correction Community Supervision Division has resulted in the indictment and arrest of a Rock Island man. At the request of Van Buren County Sheriff Eddie Carter and 31 st  District Attorney General Lisa Zavogiannis, ... (click for more)

Here We Go Again With The Same Cummings Highway, 12th Street Flooding - And Response (2)

Here we go again with the same pitiful news reports about the Cummings Highway Interstate interchange with I-24 - Flooding yet again after a heavy rain.  TDOT is derelict in not having repaired this years ago.  How hard is it to get some excavators out there to dig up the collapsed drainage pipes which TDOT says are the cause of the flooding and replace them with ... (click for more)

Deal With The Graffiti Vandals

I travel to other neat old cities and don't see nearly the graffiti vandalism as in Chattanooga. Why do we allow one or two or three repeat vandals to mar our venerable Walnut Street Bridge, the pillars to the Holmberg Bridge, the remodeled Chief John Ross Market Street Bridge, the walls along our multi-million-dollar Riverwalk, our sidewalks, street signs and our old limestone ... (click for more)

English, Ex-East Hamilton Coach, Hired To Lead Whites Creek Boys' Hoops Team

Rodney English, former boys’ basketball coach at East Hamilton, recently was named to a similar job at Whites Creek High School in Nashville. The move was made public Monday when English’s name appeared on the official Whites Creek school directory that is annually submitted to the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association. The hiring of English at Whites Creek was also ... (click for more)

Vols' Nigel Warrior Named To Bednarik Award Watch List

Tennessee junior defensive back  Nigel Warrior  has been named to the 2018 Bednarik Award Watch List. Warrior is the first Vol to be named to the Bednarik Watch list since the defensive trio of Derek Barnett, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Cameron Sutton were named to the Bednarik's preliminary list in 2016.   Warrior totaled 83 tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss ... (click for more)