Gregory S. Hale, 37, was arrested at his home — in a small rural community just outside Manchester — late Sunday and is charged with premeditated first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse, Coffee County District Attorney Mickey Layne told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Hale confessed to killing the woman, according to the arrest warrant. It identified the woman as Lisa Marie Hyder, and authorities called the two acquaintances. Hale told authorities he beheaded Hyder and cut off her hands and placed the body parts in a plastic bucket, according to the warrant.
He then cut off her feet and other body parts, and placed them in another bucket. The warrant states that Hale buried the torso in a burn pile at the residence.
Hale also admitted to "eating part of the victim," according to the warrant.
Layne acknowledged that the case is unusual for the seemingly tranquil area, about 60 miles southeast of Nashville in Middle Tennessee.
"I have been here as assistant D.A. or D.A. a lot of years, but this is the first homicide offense of its kind during my tenure here, and I came in the '70s," he said.
Layne said a neighbor told police he'd had a conversation with Hale and had reason to believe a homicide had been committed.
When officers arrived at the home, Layne said they found remains on the grounds. They then questioned Hale and took him into custody.
Hale is being held in jail on $1.5 million bond. His attorney did not immediately return a call to The AP.