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A preview of hell: Two of three defendants in 2015 Christmas Day murder plead guilty

Jeff Bobo • Sep 1, 2017 at 5:00 PM

ROGERSVILLE — In  his victim impact statement Thursday, the brother-in-law of Kingsport murder victim Christopher West said he hopes every day West’s killers spend in prison is “just a preview of their time in hell.”

On Thursday, two of the three people accused of luring West to a Kingsport apartment on Dec. 25, 2015, beating him to death and burning his body in Greene County pleaded guilty to murder and abuse of a corpse in Hawkins County Criminal Court.

Timothy Shawn McEachern, 45, of Abingdon, was sentenced to a total of 32 years by Judge John Dugger. McEachern received a 26 year sentence for second-degree murder, which he must serve at 100 percent and a consecutive six year sentence for abuse of a corpse with a 30 percent release eligibility.

Krystal Nicole Lane, 27, of Kingsport, was sentenced to a total of 25 years for second-degree murder and abuse of a corpse, with a 30 percent release eligibility.

A third defendant, Amanda Joy LaForce, 29, of Yuma, is charged with first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse. She is scheduled to appear in Criminal Court Oct. 6.

According to a statement given to the Kingsport Police Department by Lane, she, McEachern and LaForce were at Lane’s apartment at Holly Hills in Allandale on Christmas Day of 2015 injecting “ice” and “gravel” when West texted LaForce.

LaForce and McEachern were dating at the time, and Lane described McEachern in her statement as very jealous, very hyped up and very high.

In her statement, Lane said that McEachern told LaForce to send a message to West inviting him to the apartment for sex.

Lane said that when West arrived, she opened the door for him, LaForce was on the couch in front of the doorway and said, “Hi” to him, and McEachern was out of sight in the kitchen behind West.

At that point, McEachern was wearing a ski mask and hit West from behind with a bat, Lane said. West fell to the ground and recognized McEachern despite the ski mask.

Lane then describes a lengthy ordeal in which West was bound with duct tape, beaten, choked and threatened with a handgun while begging for his life. Lane said  McEachern sent her and LaForce out to McEachern’s car to retrieve some zip ties, which they couldn’t find, and when they returned to the apartment, West was dead.

Lane said they called a second male, who arrived on Dec. 26 at daylight and drove them to Lowe’s, where they bought bleach, rags, spray bottles and a fire log. McEachern then went to the nearby Walmart, where he shoplifted some items including garbage bags.

They then cleaned Lane’s apartment, put West into the trunk of the second male’s car, and drove to a remote area of Greene County, where they set the body on fire and pushed it down an embankment.

On Feb. 17, the Greene County Sheriff’s Department located human remains down an embankment at the southern end of Greene Mountain Road, near the intersection of Viking Mountain Road and the North Carolina state line. Approximately two weeks later, Kingsport police confirmed that autopsy results had positively identified the remains as those of West.

The KPD had information that West was last seen at Lane’s apartment, and she gave the statement implicating herself, McEarchern and LaForce on April 20, 2016. At the time, McEachern and LaForce were being held in the Sullivan County Jail on unrelated theft charges.

In a victim impact statement, West’s brother in-law said the defendants took away the only brother he’s ever known, changed his life and that of his wife and robbed their children of their only uncle.

“The Bible says forgive, and we are not to judge,” he said. “My faith, and more importantly, my wife’s faith, has carried us to this point. I hope that every day of your sentence is just a preview of your time in hell. I will forgive someday, but I will never forget what you have taken from me, my family and this world. You had no right.”

Kingsport police received assistance from multiple agencies in working the case, including the Greene County Sheriff's Office, Scott County Sheriff's Office, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the District Attorney General of the 3rd Judicial District.

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