Jacob Allen Bennett: Tennessee murder suspect knew victims ‘to some degree,' district attorney says

CROSSVILLE — Authorities said Friday the man being held in connection with the slayings of four people in Cumberland County knew the victims to "some degree."

Jacob Allen Bennett, 26, of Crab Orchard is being held in the Cumberland County Jail on violation of parole, according to Deputy District Attorney General Gary S. McKenzie.

The bodies of Danielle Jacobson, 22, Steven Presley, 17, Dominic Davis, 17, and John Lajeunesse, 16, were found in a car on Renegade Mountain about 7 a.m. CDT Thursday. Jacobson was the driver of the compact car parked just off the main road to the resort community.

Each of the victims had been shot, according to TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm.

"The suspect knew the victims to some degree," District Attorney General Randy York said during a news conference Friday but would not elaborate.

He declined to release details of the shootings but said a special session of the grand jury would be called to consider the case.

TBI Director Mark Gwyn declined to say if drugs were involved in the slayings but said drugs are involved in 90 to 95 percent of all crime.

Bennett was identified as a suspect fairly quickly, Gwyn said, and was located in Rhea County.

Authorities there worked with Cumberland County officers and the TBI to apprehend Bennett, who was taken into custody about midnight without incident.

He is currently being held on violation of parole from a case in Fentress County in 2009.

Bennett had been arrested at least five times in Cumberland County, according to Sheriff Butch Burgess and had been booked in other counties and other states.

The investigation is ongoing into the shootings is ongoing.

Gwyn declined to say if a weapon was recovered or if Bennett made a statement.

The discovery of the bodies, made by a Renegade Mountain resident, triggered a massive response by a number of law enforcement agencies.

At one point, about 50 law enforcement officials were on the scene, including members of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's crime lab.

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