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Update: Alleged 'love triangle' spurs Scott County murder; Hawkins man arrested

Rain Smith • Updated May 4, 2018 at 11:56 AM

Update: 1:25 p.m. 

GATE CITY — Police say a love triangle led to the fatal shooting of a man in Scott County, followed by the murder suspect holding his wife at gunpoint in Church Hill.

Scott County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jim Benton reported that John Martin, 44, is charged in the murder of Nicholas Pierce, 20. Investigators believe Pierce had been staying with Martin at his residence in Hawkins County and that Martin suspected his wife and houseguest to be romantically involved.

The body of Pierce was located Thursday evening in the Yuma community of Scott County, along Cameron Church Road. The discovery followed a standoff with police at Martin’s home, 5127 Carters Valley Road, Lot 22, in Hawkins County.

According to the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to the Martins’ residence at about 3:25 Thursday afternoon after receiving information that a female was possibly being held against her will. After police made contact with the occupants through a P.A. system, Martin’s wife and two female juveniles exited the home.

The woman reportedly said that she and Martin are in the process of divorce. At about 9 a.m. she woke up with her husband pointing a gun at her, according to her account, then he zip-tied her to a chair.

Police say the woman promised to stay with Martin if he would free her. He eventually untied her, and at about 2 p.m. she was able to call a family member, who dialed 911.

Martin reportedly stood in the doorway of the mobile home, refusing to comply with officers’ commands and exit. After a brief standoff, he surrendered without further incident.

According to Benton, Martin’s wife alerted police to the murder of Pierce. Authorities found Pierce’s body just across the state line in Virginia, about four miles from the Martins’ residence.

Benton said investigators believe the slaying of Pierce occurred in Scott County. That spurred a charge of first-degree murder in Virginia, along with kidnapping, using a firearm in commission of a felony, and concealing a dead body.

In Hawkins County, Martin currently faces a charge of aggravated kidnapping. Investigations are continuing in both jurisdictions.

Update: 11:50 a.m. — 

GATE CITY, Va. — A Church Hill, Tenn., man has been arrested in connection with a body found Thursday in Scott County, where investigators believe he murdered the victim over a "love triangle."

According to Scott County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Jim Benton, John Martin, 44, faces multiple charges in the fatal shooting of Nicholas Pierce, 20. Police believe Pierce had been staying with Martin at his Hawkins County home, with Martin then suspecting his wife and house guest to be romantically involved.

The body of Pierce was located Thursday evening in the Yuma Community of Scott County, along Cameron Church Road. Benton said the discovery followed a standoff with police at Martin's Hawkins County home, where he had taken his wife hostage and was threatening murder-suicide.

After Hawkins County sheriff’s officers brought Martin into custody, Martin's wife reportedly told police about the murder of Pierce and where he could be found across the state line in Virginia.

Benton said the killing occurred in Scott County. That spurred a charge of first-degree murder in Virginia along with kidnapping, using a firearm in commission of a felony, and concealing a dead body.

Check back soon for more on this developing story, including details of the standoff at Martin’s home in Church Hill.

Previous story:

GATE CITY, Va. — The Thursday evening discovery of a body in Scott County has spurred a murder investigation.

According to the Scott County Sheriff's Office, the victim was found in the Yuma Community. As of Friday morning, details of the homicide and police probe weren't being divulged by authorities.

The Sheriff's Office reports additional information was expected to be released later in the day. Other law enforcement agencies are assisting in the investigation, including the Virginia State Police.

Check back with TimesNews.net for additional information as it becomes available.

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