Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Souers: Suspect Arrested in Tennessee

Jerry Buck Inman, wanted for the murder of Clemson University student Tiffany Souers, was arrested in Dandridge, Tennessee after driving past his parents' home, apparently in the same vehicle he drove the night Tiffany was murdered. The red Chevy Blazer was sealed to preserve evidence and will be shipped back to South Carolina. Inman, 35, a registered sex offender in two other states -- Florida and North Carolina -- is expected to be extradited back to South Carolina to face charges.

It's looking like the townhouse construction site nextdoor to Tiffany's apartment building (mentioned in earlier articles) might be the connecting factor in this crime.
Souers' apartment building is in the back of a sprawling three-story apartment complex about three miles from Clemson's campus, which is about 100 miles southeast of Dandridge. A construction site of new townhouses is adjacent.

Inman was a construction worker, but authorities didn't know whether he had worked near the apartments. Davenport said Inman was fired last week from a construction company in neighboring Sevier County, Tenn., but it was not clear how long he had worked there.
For me, this suspect makes much more sense than the profiled killer dreamed up by SLED. The notion that Tiffany's murderer was some kid whose sexual advances got out of hand just didn't make sense. A man who would use his victim's ATM card to try to steal from her immediately after the murder is not a frightened, broken up, panic-stricken greenhorn. It's cold and calculating -- the mark of a hardened criminal, if not a very bright one.

Authorities have DNA from Inman connecting him to the crime. They also have those surveillance photographs of him and his vehicle in the ATM incidents. Chief Deputy Bob McCoyg, the arresting officer stated, "His vehicle had several items in it that were related to the crimes." I'm betting that they have other evidence from Tiffany's apartment that has yet to be made public. It was only released with the announcement of his arrest that Tiffany's hands and feet were bound. Not suprisingly, it has also been made clear that Inman is a possible suspect in crimes in other states, including an attempted rape in Alabama.

All in all, I'm pleased with the work of South Carolina authorities and wish others would take heed in the way they handled this investigation. Various agencies worked together to identify and apprehend the killer, and the investigators in charge were not too arrogant, self-aggrandizing, or condescending to enlist the help of the public in solving this case. Congratulations to Bob Ariail and all involved. May their diligence pay off in thwarting the defense of Jerry Buck Inman -- a defense which has already begun with the statement by his mother that her son is bipolar and suicidal. [To which I say, "So what?"]