Update: Murder suspect allegedly bludgeoned victim, stayed with body for days

Rain Smith • Updated Aug 3, 2018 at 4:40 PM

Update, 4:38 p.m. —

KINGSPORT — A city man has been arrested for bludgeoning his live-in girlfriend with an oxygen tank, according to court records, then staying in his apartment with her dead body for several days.

Sammy R. Sandidge, 67, is charged with first-degree murder. The deceased was found Thursday in his residence at Maple Oaks Apartments, located on Oak Street off East Center Street.

According to an affidavit filed by a detective with the Kingsport Police Department, at about 2 p.m. employees of the complex were conducting monthly maintenance checks. When they entered Sandidge’s apartment, they were “overwhelmed by a bad smell” and backed out.

Police were called and responded to find the body. Court records list a possible name for the victim, but investigators are awaiting the results of an autopsy to confirm both the identity and gender.

After speaking with neighbors, police determined Sandidge was likely the last person with the victim and wasprobably responsible for the death. He was quickly located in Lynn Garden and taken to the police department for questioning.

Sandidge allegedly stated that he and the victim were arguing about her wanting him to move with her to Pennsylvania. Sandidge didn’t want to go, according to his account, but she persisted.

“He stated he could not listen to her hassle him anymore,” reads the affidavit.

Sandidge then allegedly explained how he killed the woman with an oxygen tank, using it to strike her once in the head. 

Court records state that when he realized the blow hadn’t been fatal, he hit her with the tank three more times, “then waited three or four minutes for her to take her last breath.”

While the affidavit doesn’t provide a possible date for the murder, Sandidge allegedly stated that he stayed at the apartment for three days after it occurred. He then went to stay with friends, although that date isn’t specified, and told other residents of Maple Oaks that the victim was with family in Pennsylvania.

Sandidge was arraigned on Friday morning and transported to the Sullivan County jail in Blountville. His bond is set at $250,000.

Kingsport police don’t expect to release the identity of the victim until next week, at the earliest, pending the autopsy results and notification of next of kin.

Previous story:

KINGSPORT — The Thursday discovery of a woman's body in a Kingsport apartment has led to the arrest of a city man.

Sammy R. Sandidge, 67, is charged with first-degree murder. The deceased, who police are not identifying at this time, was found in his residence in the Maple Oaks Apartments complex, located on Oak Street off of East Center Street.

On Friday morning, Kingsport police were releasing few details on the case. KPD Public Information Officer Tom Patton said an investigation was still in the early stages.

Patton said that at about 2 p.m., officers were called to Maple Oaks about a deceased person in apartment 320, "under suspicious circumstances."

Sandidge was not home when police arrived, but was soon located in the Lynn Garden area. After detectives examined the apartment and interviewed Sandidge, the death was determined to have been intentional and premeditated.

The body will be sent to the ETSU Quillen College of Medicine for autopsy. Patton said positive identification and notification of next of kin is pending.

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

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