Suspects in 'mummified body' case appear in court

Tommy Rose, 62, (L) and Christina McCormack, 48, are accused of abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and failing to call 911 along with Deborah Gister, 41, (R) / Source: (Knox County Sheriff's Office)

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — Two suspects in a Knoxville homicide case surrouding a "mummified body" found in a shed on Greenfield lane will face a grand jury.

Deborah Gister, 41, and Christina McCormack, 48 were in Knox County Court on Thursday to face charges of tampering with evidcence and desecration of a corpse. The judge made the decision to move their case to the grand jury.

Tommy Rose, 62, also faced a judge on charges of first-degree murder. His court date was reset for October 28.

According to a search warrant obtained by WVLT News, the discovery of a mummified body on Greenfield Lane is being investigated as a homicide.

Police said Donald Moore, 66, was found dead on Oct. 6.

A warrant shows that a witness accused Rose of stabbing the victim in the eye with the intention to kill them and collect their social security benefits.

Officers reported that upon arrival to the address, they detected a very strong odor. "I believe this odor to be that of a decaying human corpse," says the warrant. "The odor grew stronger as officers walked closer to the garage/ building located in the rear of the property."

Authorities seized several items from the home during the search including crack pipes, sheets, a cell phone, a purse, pillows and more, the warrant shows.

While the residents waited outside for officers to conduct the search warrant, Gister allegedly grabbed her son, held a screwdriver to his neck and said, "I have nothing left to live for and I will never be separated from my son."

Officers said Gister refused to follow commands to drop the screwdriver, leading the officers to forcibly separate the mother and son.

When officers got the child to safety, he reportedly said: "She tried to kill me."

The child was taken into DCS custody.

All three residents of the home will stand before a judge on October 17. All three have been charged with abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence.

Officials later clarified that by "mummified," they meant wrapped in a tarp and decomposing.

Police said three residents at the home on Greenfield Lane denied any knowledge of the body which investigators say was likely on the property for multiple weeks.

Neighbor, Margret "Becky" Carter told WVLT News reporter Gwendolyn Ducre that the people who lived at the home approached her and asked her to help them dig a hole prior to the discovery, but she declined. After some time passed, she decided to call the police.

Carter said she is friends with her neighbors and she did not know why they wanted her help with digging the hole. She said the home is known to have a lot of people coming in and out for drugs.

According to court documents, police have accused the suspects of wrapping the body in the tarp and destroying material that likely contained evidence about the victim's death. They are also accused of failing to call 911 for an extended period of time.

KPD said they received a tip regarding a possible homicide at the 2300 block of Greenfield Lane that led them to find the body.

The body has been transported to the Regional Forensic Center for an autopsy to determine the cause of death. An investigation remains ongoing.

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