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Suspect arrested in Bluff City murder

From staff reports • Sep 10, 2018 at 10:57 PM

JOHNSON CITY — An investigation by special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in the arrest of a Sullivan County man in connection to a Bluff City homicide.

On Aug. 10, Herman Rumley, 71, was found deceased in his residence on Woods Road in Bluff City. At the request of Sullivan County District Attorney General Barry Staubus, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation responded to process the scene.

One reason Staubus called in the TBI was that Rumley had a pending civil suit against employees of the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office. Rumley had claimed deputies assaulted him at his home.

Staubus said the TBI’s death investigation is not related to the lawsuit, but he didn’t want anyone to perceive a possible conflict of interest if the SCSO handled the case.

Staubus added that the “nature of the scene” also merited use of the TBI’s crime lab.

During the course of the investigation, agents developed information leading to James Lee Fagans, 59, as an individual responsible for Rumley’s death, according to a news release from TBI Public Information Officer Leslie Earhart.

Late Monday, authorities arrested Fagans and charged him with one count of second-degree murder. He was subsequently booked into the Sullivan County jail. His bond had not been set Monday night.

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