Terry King was sentenced to death by the State of Tennessee for a kidnapping and murder. According to court documents Terry King would kidnap Diana Kay Smith, shoot her in the back of the head and dumped her body in a quarry. Terry King would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death.
Terry King 2021 Information
Terry King More News
Mrs. Smith left her home on Sunday afternoon, July 31, 1983, to go to a nearby McDonald’s to get food for her family. Her automobile, a 1979 Camaro, was found on August 4, 1983, off the road in a heavily wooded area near Blaine, Tennessee. On August 6, 1983, Mrs. Donna Allen went to the Asbury quarry in Knox County to swim. She noticed a strange odor coming from a yellow tarpaulin in the water near the bank, and reported the circumstance to the sheriff’s office. On following-up Mrs. Allen’s report, officers found the body of a white female in an advanced state of decomposition. The body was later identified as being that of Mrs. Smith. Death was from one or more shots fired into the back of Mrs. Smith’s head from a high-powered weapon. In the course of the police investigation, the attention of the officers was focused on Terry King and Randall Sexton when Jerry Childers, an acquaintance of King, reported a conversation he had had with King and what he had found when he followed up on the conversation. Jerry Childers testified that Terry King came to his house on the afternoon of Monday, August 1, 1983, and inquired as to whether Childers knew anyone that wanted to buy parts from a 1979 Camaro. According to Childers, King told Childers he had killed the woman who owned the automobile after she threatened to charge defendant with rape. According to Childers, defendant said he made the woman get out of the car trunk where he had confined her and lie face down on the ground, that the woman faced the defendant and begged him not to shoot her and offered money, and that he ordered her to turn her head away from him. When she did, he shot her in the back of the head. Defendant also told Childers he took forty dollars from the woman as well as taking her automobile. The following Friday, which was August 5, 1983, Childers related defendant’s story to Mr. Buford Watson. On Sunday, Childers went to the location defendant had described as the place of the killing and found something with hair on it. Childers then gave the information he had to Detective Herman Johnson of the Knox County Sheriff's Department and T.B.I. agent, David Davenport. In following up the report, the officers met Childers near Richland Creek and searched the area, finding pieces of bone, hair, and bloodstains. A later more thorough search turned up bullet fragments and additional bone fragments. -2- In the course of the police investigation, defendant and co-defendant, Sexton, were interviewed by the officers. Both gave written statements detailing the events of the night of July 31, 1983. Neither defendant testified in the guilt phase of the trial, but their statements were introduced in evidence. Both defendants testified in the sentencing phase of the trial and repeated in substance the facts set forth in the statements given the police officers in their statements. The statements of King and Sexton were markedly similar for the time the two men were together. King’s statement was the more comprehensive since it covered the entire period of time he was with Mrs. Smith. According to defendant, he and his cousin, Don King, picked up Mrs. Smith at the Cherokee Dam on Sunday, July 31, 1983. Defendant drove Mrs. Smith in her automobile to the nearby house trailer of his cousin, arriving there around 7:00 p.m. Don King drove his own automobile to the trailer. Shortly after arriving at the trailer, defendant called Eugene Thornhill who came to the trailer and left with defendant to obtain LSD and quaaludes. Defendant said he and Mrs. Smith took the drugs. Thereafter, defendant, Don King, and Eugene Thornhill had sex with Mrs. Smith. After staying at the trailer for several hours, defendant and Mrs. Smith left in her automobile, with defendant driving. They went to a wooded area, where they again had sex. From there, they went to a service station for gas. Mrs. Smith got out of the automobile and grabbed the keys. Defendant told her to get back in the automobile and she did so. The defendant drove Mrs. Smith back to the wooded area, where they again had sex and the defendant took forty dollars from Mrs. Smith. According to defendant, Mrs. Smith then asked “why did you all rape me?” Defendant stated that he knew then what he was going to do. He told Mrs. Smith to get into the trunk of the automobile. When she did, defendant drove to Sexton’s house and told Sexton he had a woman in the trunk of the automobile and needed Sexton’s help. Defendant got a rifle from Sexton and also a shovel. Defendant and Sexton then left the Sexton home in separate automobiles. After making a stop at a Publix station to purchase gas, defendant and Sexton drove to a wooded area near Richland Creek in Knox County. Defendant drove the 1979 Camaro off the road and became stuck. He then made Mrs. Smith get out of the automobile trunk and pointed the loaded rifle at her. Defendant made Mrs. Smith lie down on the ground, assuring her that he was not going to kill her, that others were coming to have sex with her. Sexton left in his automobile to return a funnel to the gas station. While he was gone, defendant shot Mrs. Smith in the back of the -3- head. On Sexton’s return, and after getting the Camaro unstuck, the two went through Mrs. Smith’s effects, burning her identification. They then attempted to bury the body, but gave up because of the hardness of the ground. The next morning, defendant and Sexton wrapped Mrs. Smith’s body in a tent, weighted it with cinder blocks and dumped it in the Asburn quarry. Mrs. Smith’s automobile was hidden near Sexton’s house. Agent Davenport testified that after making his statement, the defendant took him and other officers to the place where the Camaro was hidden and defendant also showed them where he had hidden the automobile license plate in a hollow tree. The defendant also showed the officers where he had placed the body in the quarry and where the shooting occurred. Tommy Heflin, a firearms examiner for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation [(TBI)], testified that he had examined the .30 Marlin rifle belonging to Sexton, the metal bullet jacket, and fragments recovered from the scene of the killing. According to Mr. Heflin, the intact metal jacket had been fired from Sexton’s rifle and the fragments were fired from a rifle with the same rifling characteristics as Sexton’s rifle. Mr. Heflin was of the opinion that at least two bullets had been fired. Dr. Joseph Parker, who performed an autopsy on the body of Mrs. Smith, testified that death was due to an extensive head injury consistent with gunshot wounds from a high-powered rifle. Over objection, the State also presented evidence through Lori Eastman Carter that defendant had attempted to kill her on October 13, 1982. According to Mrs. Carter, King hit her with a slapstick numerous times, while repeatedly asking her “how it felt to be dying, so that the next woman he killed he would know how she felt.” Mrs. Carter testified that she lost consciousness. When she came to, she was still in her automobile with her hair rolled up in the window. She further testified that she heard defendant tell his cousin that he had killed her and wanted James King to help him put her in a quarry and burn her automobile. James King disputed Mrs. Carter’s version of events, saying that defendant came to King’s home to get him to follow defendant to St. Mary’s Hospital as Mrs. Carter was ill and needed treatment. -4- Karen Greeg, Lori Carter’s sister, testified that Mrs. Carter [cannot] be believed, even under oath. State v. King,
, 243-45 (Tenn. 1986). The Petitioner sought post-conviction relief on multiple grounds, including the ineffective assistance of counsel. The post- conviction court denied relief, and this court and the supreme court affirmed. See King v. State,
(Tenn. 1999). The Petitioner also sought habeas corpus relief in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. See Terry Lynn King v. Ricky Bell, Warden, No. 3:99-cv- 454,
2011 WL 3566843
(E.D. Tenn. Aug. 12, 2011) (order). The relevant issue raised in his habeas corpus petition surrounded an allegation that the State “withheld exculpatory, mitigating, and/or impeachment evidence” in violation of Brady v. Maryland,
During the federal habeas corpus proceedings, subpoenas duces tecum were issued, and as a result, in 2000, the Petitioner’s counsel discovered certain evidence possessed by the State at the time of the trial but unknown to the Petitioner’s trial and post- conviction counsel. Consequently, the Petitioner asserted that the State withheld evidence showing that only one gunshot was “associated with . . . [the] murder.”
He alleged that “records recently obtained . . . from the TBI reveal[ed] that only one bullet was found at the crime scene and that Ms. Smith was shot one time.”
court stated that it “appear[ed] from the record that there was some confusion as to whether the bullet fragment was recovered from the site where . . . Millard’s1 body was found or where Ms. Smith was killed.”
argued the confusion stemmed from finding one metal object where Ms. Smith was killed and two at Mr. Millard’s grave site, which were submitted to the TBI for analysis.
concluded that the Petitioner failed to show the State withheld evidence or deliberately presented false evidence and that because overwhelming evidence existed of the Petitioner’s guilt, including his confession, any alleged violation was immaterial.
The Petitioner also alleged that relative to Ms. Carter, the State withheld photographs and hospital records that would have impeached her testimony regarding the Petitioner’s beating her until she was unconscious. The court, though, concluded that the Petitioner had not established a Brady violation because the evidence nonetheless showed Ms. Carter was assaulted and received medical treatment for her injuries.
After the district court denied habeas corpus relief, the Petitioner filed a motion to alter or amend the district court’s memorandum and judgment order, in relevant part, with 1 The Petitioner was also convicted of the first degree murder and aggravated kidnapping of Todd Lee Millard after law enforcement questioned the Petitioner regarding Ms. Smith’s death.