NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A grand jury on Friday indicted a man and his girlfriend on murder charges in the shooting deaths of a woman and three teenagers in what prosecutors called a robbery during a pot deal in a former mountain resort in eastern Tennessee.
The Cumberland County grand jury indicted Jacob Allen Bennett, 26, and Lina Yvonn Moser, 25, on four felony murder and two attempted aggravated robbery charges. Bennett, who is accused of being the gunman, was also charged with four counts of premeditated murder, which means prosecutors could pursue the death penalty.
"There was some conscious reflection and decision made to execute these individuals," Deputy District Attorney General Gary McKenzie said in a phone interview.
Both Bennett and Moser are being held without bond.
Bennett said during his arraignment that he wanted to plead guilty, but the judge instead assigned attorneys to both defendants and scheduled the next hearing for Oct. 3, WATE-TV reported.
Bennett's appointed attorney, Kevin Marlow, did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Moser's attorney, Kevin Bryant, declined to comment.
Bennett and Moser are accused of trying to rob two of the victims, 22-year-old Rikki Danielle Jacobsen and 17-year-old Domonic Lewis Davis, during what the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation described as a marijuana exchange. Their bodies were found in a car in the rural Renegade Mountain community on Sept. 12 alongside Steven Michael Presley, 17, and Jonathan Raymond Lajeunesse, 16.
McKenzie said prosecutors may decide by next month's court date whether they will pursue the death penalty for Bennett, or life without the possibility of parole.
Moser's felony murder charges are based on the accusation that the deaths resulted from commission of a separate violent crime.
"The indictment alleges that she participated in the robbery," McKenzie said. "So she's on the hook even if she didn't pull the trigger."
Jacobson's and Davis' bodies were found in a car in the rural Renegade Mountain community on Sept. 12 alongside Steven Michael Presley, 17, and Jonathan Raymond Lajeunesse, 16.
Bennett was arrested on a parole violation in neighboring Rhea County the day after the bodies were found. Moser was arrested Friday at her home in Dayton.
The former resort community is located about 50 miles west of Knoxville. It had controlled access with a gate until 2010, when new owners got rid of it. That move gave rise among some residents about security in the 3,000-acre community
Bennett was previously sentenced to six years in prison in 2010 after pleading guilty to a series of charges in Cumberland and Fentress counties, including being a convicted violent felon in possession of a firearm and theft, according to court records. He was released on parole from the Hardeman County Correctional Facility in March, according to the state Department of Correction.
Bennett had previously been incarcerated in Florida.