Cold Case office solves 28 year old motel murder

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – In February of 1989 Richard Layne from Ringgold checked into the La Plaza Motel on Cummings Highway in Lookout Valley.

When he didn’t check out the next morning, a motel housekeeping staff entered the room to find his naked, bloody body lying in the floor.

He had been stabbed 32 times with wounds all over his body and his ring finger completely severed.

Investigators believed the killer took his wedding ring.

Layne carried large amounts of cash for car auctions, but police found that his wallet was empty.

But with few leads, the case went cold.

Then last year, the FBI’s AFIS system heated it back up.

The system had found a match to a fingerprint police found on a beer can in Layne’s motel room.

It belonged to Samuel Edward Reeves from Bryant, Alabama, who had most recently been booked on a DUI charge.

The Cold Case Unit reopened the case.

Through his attorney, Reeves said he acted in self-defense.

Since the fingerprint was their only evidence, District Attorney General Neal Pinkston negotiated a plea deal.

Reeves entered a guilty plea Wednesday morning to Voluntary manslaughter.

He gets a six year prison sentence, but will only serve 11 months and 29 days plus probation.

The DA’s office says the Layne family approves of the deal.

This is the ninth case solved by the Cold Case Unit since its founding in October of 2014.

Categories: Hamilton County, Local News, Ringgold

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