Murder Charge Dismissed in Donnie Brantley Case

Reported by: Alisha Searl
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Updated: 5/12 7:21 pm
CLEVELAND, TN (WDEF) - District Attorney General Steve Bebb, tells News 12, "I believe he's guilty as sin."

In a rare sit down interview, Bebb explains why his office decided to dismiss Donnie Brantley's first degree murder charge, despite calling it a, "knock 'em dead case."

Bebb adds, "We don't decide things unilaterally. You know, I want to know what everybody thinks, so in this, the family evidentially had told law enforcement they didn't feel good about going forward with it at this time and they wanted to try and get more evidence."

Bebb says he has respect for Marsha's family, Bradley County law enforcement, and Prosecutor Paul Rush, therefore he will not override their decision to walk away from the case.

Bebb adds, "Our opinions differed. I believe we have a strong case.  I don't believe it will ever get any stronger unless they can find Marsha Brantley's body, and I don't know if that will ever happen."

Brantley is now a free man.

However, prosecutors can start from scratch and try the case again anytime they want.

We asked Brantley's Attorney, Joe Hoffer, if Brantley was nervous about that fact.

Hoffer adds, "I'm not going to answer that question, no."

Hoffer says this is an appropriate outcome for the 2009 cold case.

Hoffer adds, "Well, he was happy that the tremendous stress that he's been under from this accusations is no longer there."

Now, we asked Bebb why he felt he had a strong case.

Bebb says, "He told many lies to law enforcement. We can hang him with his lies."

He goes on to say Brantley had been talking to other women, and had not reported Marsha missing.

We've followed this cold case for years, and while it seems like the file is now sealed shut, Marsha's family is confident more evidence will surface sooner or later, and that this case will be tried under District Attorney General Elect Steve Crump.

Brantley was also charged with hindering a creditor, and that charge has been dismissed as well.
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CountrynotDumb - 5/14/2014 7:58 PM
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I just heard about this today, and googled it. My initial reaction was No Way. If you ever knew Donnie personally, you would say no way too. I haven't seen or heard from him since I worked with him 8 years ago. But he was as Country, Honest, and straightforward as they come. I am a pretty good judge of character normally, and I could be wrong. But I doubt it. Read that story again, and consider the Statement from the officials, Should be open and shut right? Perhaps the Cleveland / Bradley County officers should stick to targeting Minorities on the side of I-75. They seem to have them pulled over every time I travel that piece of highway. Any one else notice that?
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