Hawkins couple accused of making up pregnancy, death of twins to scam donations

Jeff Bobo • Apr 1, 2013 at 9:01 AM

ROGERSVILLE — A Hawkins County couple were arraigned in Sessions Court Monday after being accused of making up the pregnancy and subsequent death of unborn twins to scam donations for funeral expenses out of co-workers and an acquaintance.

Irvin Henry “Trey” Murrell III, 28, 160 Choptack Road, Rogersville, allegedly went so far as to show photos of two dead babies to co-workers — claiming they belonged to him and his wife — to gain sympathy when he asked for donations to help with the burials.

Murrell’s wife, Courtney Ladawn Murrell, 27, same address, reportedly gave her alleged victim photos of ultrasounds of live twins before claming they had died.

Both are charged with one count each of creating the false impression of death and theft over $500. Courtney Murrell faces an additional charge of theft under $500.

On Feb. 22, the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office received a fraud complaint from the mother of one of Courtney Murrell’s former boyfriends.

The alleged victim stated that Courtney Murrell had contacted her recently and stated that she was pregnant with twins, and that the alleged victim’s son was the father.

The alleged victim told HCSO Detective John Parsons that she initially gave Courtney Murrell $100 to assist with expenses, and also bought her things for the twins.

Courtney Murrell also allegedly showed the alleged victim photos of prenatal ultrasounds and identified them as her twins.

After a few weeks, Courtney Murrell called the alleged victim back and stated she’d lost the twins and needed money for their burials.

Parsons stated in his report that Courtney Murrell wouldn’t tell the alleged victim where the twins were going to be buried.

After receiving that report, Parsons interviewed Courtney Murrell, who allegedly admitted she hadn’t been pregnant dating back to September 2012 — which was the timeframe she gave the alleged victim.

During the investigation, Parsons learned that Irvin Murrell had allegedly collected money from his co-workers and employer at Barrette Manufacturing for the loss of twins by his wife.

According to Parsons’ report, Barrette human resources manager Rick Fior stated that Irvin Murrell showed him a photo of two deceased babies.

“Rick Fior gave me copies of a check given to Irvin ‘Trey’ Murrell for $250, and a hand-written receipt for $387,” Parsons said. “These monies had been taken up for Irvin Murrell and his wife due to the death of the babies.”

Irvin Murrell also received $270 in salary for bereavement time he was off work — as he allegedly told his employers — for the funerals of the twins.

The allegation is that both Mr. and Mrs. Murrell benefited from the money donated by his co-workers and employer, which is why both were charged with felony theft over $500.

Both were arrested Sunday night, and Courtney Murrell was released later Sunday on a $15,000 bond. As of Monday, Irvin Murrell remained held in the Hawkins County jail.

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