Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

June 23, 2014

Teacher charged in slaying

Hearing continued to July 7

CROSSVILLE — A special education teacher remains in jail without bond today after being charged with the shooting death of the man with whom she had been involved in a relationship for eight years, investigators said.

The shooting took place in the back yard of the suspect's home Friday morning around 4 a.m., according to Cumberland County Sheriff's Chief Investigator Casey Cox.

Louis Tammaro, 31, a local businessman, was found shot to death in the back yard at 1033 Ackia Dr., off Dunbar Rd., in the Lake Tansi area.

Stephanie Cole, 36, a Martin Elementary School teacher, was taken into custody by deputies responding to multiple 911 calls and late Friday night charged with first-degree murder. She is being held without bond.

The shooting death has left the community in shock, with friends and acquaintances describing the victim and the accused as friendly and personable.

Investigators pieced together that a neighbor and fellow Martin teacher, Kim Smith, was awakened by a single gunshot around  4 a.m., and went next door to her friend's home to investigate.

The affidavit in the arrest warrant signed by Sheriff's Investigator Jerry Jackson states that Smith, who is not identified by name, found Tammaro's body "in a tote in the back yard." Smith told a 911 dispatcher that she also found her friend, Cole, with "blood on her arms." Smith quoted Cole as stating she had just killed her boyfriend.

"Also in the tote was a pillow that appeared to have been placed over his face and shot through," the affidavit continues.

"The witness that placed the 911 call also stated that Ms. Cole must have stolen her gun the day before while Ms. Cole was at her house."

When the first responding deputy arrived on the scene, he took Cole into custody and called for investigators. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and detectives from the sheriff's department responded. The scene was secured while Jackson left to obtain a search warrant so the investigators could begin their probe.

The warrant was delivered to the scene around 11:10 a.m. Friday and the job of processing the crime scene and positively identifying the victim began. Officers stayed on the scene most of the day.

Members of the District Attorney's Office were also on hand as the scene was processed to be available if officers needed legal assistance.

Cole had been taken from the scene earlier and was checked at the emergency room because of concern relating to her actions and comments, Cox said. She was then placed on an investigative hold and held at the Justice Center and formally charged later that night in the warrant.

If investigators know of the events leading to the fatal shooting, or know of a motive, they are not saying at this time.

Monday investigators were still working on the investigation.

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