Note: This story was last updated at 12:50 p.m.
State officials will seek the death penalty against a pair accused in the murder of a 79-year-old man whose body was found hidden underneath an apartment staircase on Patt Lane in Claxton two years ago, authorities said.
Norman Lee Follis Jr., 50, and Tammy Sue Chapman, 46, are accused of killing Sammie J. Adams sometime between December 5, 2011, and January 24, 2012, Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark said in a Monday announcement. Adams’ body was found under a stairwell in his home after friends and neighbors reported that they hadn’t seen him in a while, Clark said.
Adams’ age—he was over 70—was an aggravating factor leading to the death penalty request, Clark said.
“State law indicates that the murder of an elderly person may justify imposition of the death penalty,” the DA said.
Clark said the state has requested the death penalty only one other time in Anderson County (the Seventh District) in recent memory, and that case is still pending trial.
Follis and Chapman were both previously charged with first-degree murder. Adams was Follis’ uncle.
In February, grand jury indictments alleged that Follis and Chapman “unlawfully, intentionally, and with premeditation” killed Adams between December 5, 2011, and January 24, 2012.
WATE-TV reported that Follis told a judge in 2012 that he was acting in self-defense and defending his live-in girlfriend from a sexual attack by Adams.
The February indictments also alleged the couple the couple obtained a 1997 Mercury Marquis owned by Adams, as well as the keys to his home, without his permission.
Patt Lane is off Raccoon Valley Road across Clinton Highway from Edgemoor Road.
In the other death penalty case, Valerie Stenson, 50, is facing the death penalty in the death of her toddler granddaughter, Manhattan Inman.
The 18-month-old child was found dead in a home on Teller Village Lane in Oak Ridge on April 17, 2011, and an Anderson County grand jury indicted Stenson for first-degree murder and four counts of aggravated child abuse and neglect in 2012. Since then, Stenson has been indicted on nine new counts of aggravated child abuse, aggravated child neglect, and aggravated child endangerment in cases involving three other children.
Clark earlier said that aggravating circumstances in that murder case included:
- It was committed against someone younger than 12 by someone older than 18.
- It was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel “in that it involved torture or serious physical abuse beyond that necessary to produce death.”
More information will be added as it becomes available.
See previous story on Follis and Chapman here.
See stories on the Stenson case here.