ROGERSVILLE — Two suspects in a December 2015 murder that took place in the portion of Kingsport that lies in Hawkins County pleaded guilty and were sentenced in Hawkins Co. Criminal Court on Aug. 31.
Timothy Shawn McEachern, 45, of Abingdon, Va., who was originally charged with first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse, pleaded guilty to an amended charge of second-degree murder and abuse of a corpse under a plea agreement.
Court records show that McEachern was sentenced by Criminal Court Judge John F. Dugger, Jr. to 26 years in state prison on the second-degree murder charge and an additional six years on the abuse of a corpse charge. However, the six-year sentence is to be served on supervised probation.
He was sentenced above the standard sentencing range for both convictions, according to court records.
McEachern’s co-defendant Krystal Nicole Lane, 27, formerly of Holly Hills Apartments, Kingsport, also pleaded guilty Aug. 31 to a reduced charge of second-degree murder and also entered guilty pleas to charges of abuse of a corpse, possessing the Schedule I drug Alpha-PVP with intent to deliver it, maintaining a dwelling for drug use and possessing drug paraphernalia.
Like McEachern, Lane originally was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the December 2015 death of Christopher A. West of Kingsport, whose body was found off Greene Mountain Road, in Greene County, in 2016.
Lane was sentenced to 25 years in state prison on the second-degree murder charge and received current sentences of eight years in prison on the Alpha-PVP charge, one year on the abuse of a corpse charge, two years on the maintaining a dwelling for drug use charge and 11 months and 29 days in jail on the possessing drug paraphernalia charge.
In addition, fines totaling $2,150 were assessed against her.
A third co-defendant, Amanda Joy LaForce, 29, of Yuma, Va., also was indicted on charges of first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse in connection with West’s death, but has yet to either enter a plea or go to trial in the case.
A 2016 Kingsport Police Department news release described how the murder was alleged to have taken place.
“On or about December 25, 2015, Krystal N. Lane and Amanda Joy LaForce, lured Mr. West to Lane’s Holly Hills apartment under false pretenses,” the news release said. “Unbeknownst to Mr. West, the third suspect, Timothy S. McEachern, was at the apartment as well, lying in wait. When Mr. West arrived at Ms. Lane’s apartment, he was restrained and ultimately killed.
“They transported his body to where it was later discovered in Greene County and attempted to destroy any incriminating evidence by setting his body on fire.”
In 2016, Kingsport police declined to release additional details, to include the exact manner of death and the specific motivators that allegedly drove the suspects to commit this crime.
On April 18, 2016, Detectives presented the facts of the investigation to a Hawkins Co. Grand Jury which in turn indicted all three suspects.