Finding a missing witness is the key to solving the brutal murder of a 22-year old Tennessee man in 1991, according to the most recent episode of Cold Justice which aired on TNT Friday, May 29. Stacy Dillon was shot at close range in his face at home in Cleveland, Tennessee 24 years ago.
“Why kill a 22 year old boy?” asks former prosecutor Kelly Siegler as she and partner Yolanda McClary head to Tennessee to re-open the investigation of this ancient case.
On March 17 of 1991 Dillon’s body was found after he’d been shot to death by a lead messenger of death from a large caliber gun. He was on the telephone with friend Jeff Brewer minutes before the time of the shooting.
At one point in time Brewer may have had the solution to this case. However, he has since died, making this cold case even more difficult to solve.
McClary, who was the real-life role model for CSI’s Marg Helgenberger, teams up with Siegler in an attempt to warm up this cold case. And they are successful in breathing life into the investigation by discovering that a confidential informant known only as “Becky” saw one of the possible suspects the night of the murder.
Siegler, who was a high profile prosecutor in Houston before joining TNT, said the only hope for solving this case is to not only determine the identity of this “Becky”, but also to locate her for an interview. After reviewing the original police files of the case with local law enforcement official Mark Gibson, the TNT team interview a lady whose first name is Becky in Cleveland. Unfortunately, she is not the mysterious “Becky” who was listed as a witness in the case.
Judy Dillon, the mother of Stacy, appeared on the show. She said, “When I lost him I’d wake up and for a moment I’d think he’s still alive. Whoever done it will pay somewhere. I believe in the Bible where it talks about sowing and reaping.”
A visit to the crime scene helps Siegler and McClary re-create the baffling case. Siegler concluded that, “There was no forced entry. He knew his attacker. His teeth were knocked out…..found on the floor. It’s a very personal murder. Like his killer stuck the gun in his mouth first knocking out his teeth. There were two teeth found on the floor.”
Unfortunately, there are no eyewitnesses or even modern circumstantial evidence such as DNA to solve this case which is now as cold as the Arctic Circle. The TNT team has the difficult job of informing the victim’s mother the case is still not solved at the end of the show.
Judy responded, saying, “I’m not shocked. There’s always hope. I appreciate that you people (TNT team) who don’t even know me or my son traveled all this way to try and solve the case.”
Anyone who has information about this murder case should contact the Cleveland, Tennessee Police Department.
Siegler said, “We need to find Becky. That may not even be her real first name. Frequently, confidential informants are given false names to protect their identities.”
The only clue investigators were able to provide was that “Becky” worked for Coppenger’s Photo Lab back in 1991. A visit to the lab revealed that the company no longer possessed records of employees that far back in time. None of the current employees knew her.
Cleveland Police Lieutenant Robert Harbison said it is rare to see a murder case in this town of 45,000.
In regard to the original investigation Captain Gibson said, “We didn’t have particular evidence that led us down a path, but we did have information from interviews.”
Cold Justice appears weekly at 8/7 c on Fridays on TNT.