By Michael R. Moser
A Crossville man took responsibility for the brutal and bloody murder of a county woman in January and received a 30-year prison sentence as a Range 1 offender with the sentence to be served at 100 percent.
Travis Allen Brumbalough, 27, pleaded guilty to the beating and strangulation death of Paula Brenda Sue Selby, 41, whose battered body was found in a room at the Budget Inn on Hwy. 127 S. on Jan. 22.
"Premeditation was our weak point in this case," Deputy District Attorney Gary McKenzie said. "This plea guaranteed ten more years than if he was convicted of second-degree murder at trial."
The state's theory — backed up by witness statements — lean toward the murder taking place during a fit of rage because of bad blood between the victim and the accused.
Deputies and emergency personnel were dispatched to the Budget Inn on a report of a woman not breathing and arrived to find Selby's body lying face down, half in a bath tub and half of her body out, in a pool of blood, according to a search warrant affidavit filed by Jackson.
Broken pieces of wood were found in the floor and blood puddled on the carpet.
The murder scene was described as a particularly bloody and brutal one. Selby was repeatedly struck in the head by a desk table drawer, according to documents. The door and walls reportedly had blood splatters as a result of the attack, and according to the only witness in the room, the victim was trying to get out of the room when she was beaten.
The affidavit quotes Jack Brumbalough Jr., brother of Travis, and Jack's wife, Megan Campbell Brumbalough, as telling investigators they received a frantic call from Travis that he had an emergency and needed to be picked up at the motel.
When they arrived, they observed Travis Brumbalough and Franklin Adcox running from the room where Selby's body was found, with Travis Brumbalough having blood on his pants. Megan Brumbalough asked if Paula was okay, and the couple said Travis was "crying and said, 'I killed her.'"
During an interview with TBI Agent Dan Friel, the affidavit says Jack Brumbalough quoted his brother as stating that Paula has been getting mouthy and "he did not know how much more he could take."
Adcox provided a graphic statement to authorities and saying he went into the bathroom as Travis Brumbalough grabbed Selby by the throat, trying to choke her and saying, "I am gonna kill you bitch."
When he exited the bathroom, Adcox told investigators he saw Travis Brumbalough repeatedly striking Selby with what he described as a board from the desk. When the attack ended, Travis Brumbalough proclaimed, "I killed that bitch," and with help from Adcox, dragged the body from near the front door to the bath tub.
Physical evidence at the scene backs up statements from the witnesses.
Adcox is charged in the case as being an accessory after the fact and his case is still pending.
Brumbalough was indicted by the grand jury on May 6 of this year, and prosecution witnesses listed included TBI Agents Dan Friel and Chip Andy, Sheriff Investigators Jerry Jackson, John Haynes, David Hamby, Lt. Scott Iles, Deputies Ryan Ashburn and Zach Gilpin, Cumberland County Emergency Medical Services responders Tyler Shrad and Randy Davidson, Dr. David Zimmerman (who did the autopsy), and experts who performed DNA analysis and fingerprint analysis.
Also, Megan Brumbalough, Jack Brumbalough, Shawnda Flowers, David Farruqia, Karen Norris, Kimberly Thompson and Scott Emerson.