Paranormal Research, Haunted Places, Ghost Stories in Tennessee
*Out of respect for the families of the victims I am removing the names of the victims from our blogs. However, I will say this, if you find our content offensive, stop reading or watching, please. We research ghost stories and unfortunately, ghosts deal with death. It can be unpleasant, yet we do not wish to offend anyone. But this is what we do, so if you aren't interested in ghosts, why are you on this site?
Though the Gatlinburg ghost tour weaves an interesting story about the hauntings at this small, older motel, many members of the motel's staff do not appreciate people checking the location for "ghosts". We rented a room and stayed the night near where the murders occurred. We captured "interesting" female sound(s) during one of our digital voice recording sessions and have shared the video on YouTube and our parent website. Two employees were brutally murdered in a back office at the Rocky Top Village Inn, and their spirits are thought to be seen in the parking lot and by the fountain. Unexplained screams are heard as well. The killings were of a perverse nature. In researching this case I found the following: Detective Bud Parton was called to room number 1 at the Rocky Top Inn, where the bloody bodies of the desk clerk and security guard lay covered in stab and gunshot wounds. Parton vowed to bring their assailants to justice, and he did so, tracking down an Atlanta con man named "Tattoo Eddie" and three cohorts.
During the evening of Saturday, Sept. 13, 1986, the night clerk and security guard were slaughtered at the Rocky Top Village Inn in Gatlinburg. Three days later in Maggie Valley, N.C., the following handwritten note plus a pocket knife belonging to the female were found in a phone booth:
“Policeman Please forgive me for killing thoss 2 pople in galtinburg. I was just wanting the money in the room, but the guard wanted to take my gun. Joe seen him he hit him with Light, then he went cazy cutting them up, he mayed me shoot them hope they were already dead then hope I missed girl she was Nice. Had shoot guard Between eyes. Sorry about all this but Joe's mean he would killed me to if i haded done what he said .hope they had no kids cann't sleep thinking about. sorry it happen please forgive me hope I can start sleeping, if not gonna kill my self. gonna home hope I can get away of from Joe he's mean he'll kill me if he knows I wrote letter. that's allright got ask for forgive Ness. cann't Live Like I am Now. Here girLs knife,hope means something to someone. No good for anything.Please forgive me.please Do hope they had No kids Cann't Live with my self.”
A strange foursome was eventually rounded up. Edward Leroy Harris alias "Tattoo Eddie" had spent time in the Georgia penitentiary; his body was adorned with more than 130 tattoos. Joe DeModica, a homosexual, met Eddie in prison. Rufus Doby, aka Ashley Silvers, was Joe's transvestite lover. Kimberly Pelley was Eddie's straight lover. Harris was put to trial in Sevierville in May of 1988. Joe DeModica turned state's evidence and pinned the murders on Eddie and Kim. Two handwriting witnesses were called. A former girlfriend of Eddie, Antonia "Sunshine" Jones, said she taught Eddie to read and write and that the Maggie Valley note was in his hand:
Tattoo Eddie was sentenced to death. He may escape that ultimate punishment on the theory that he's too dumb to execute. Kim Pelley and Joe DeModica were convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Rufus Doby's guilty plea was accepted; soon he will be released from confinement.
Two key sources of evidence for the State were the testimony of the co-defendant, DeModica, which implicated Harris in the murders, and a letter describing the murders, recovered in a phone booth near the police station in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. At trial, Joseph DeModica testified that, on the day of the murders, he, Doby, Pelley, and Harris drove to Gatlinburg. Following a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the group drove to the Rocky Top Village Inn. DeModica observed Harris, Pelley, and one of the victims enter the motel room in which the females body was subsequently discovered. Pelley carried a knife in her hand. DeModica remained in the parking lot. He heard several screams. A security guard arrived, but encountered Harris, who had come out of the motel room. They began to fight. Pelley also came out of the motel room, took the guard's flashlight, and struck him over the head with it. Harris and Pelley then dragged the guard into the motel room. DeModica heard two gunshots. He testified that, when Harris and Pelley again came out of the motel room, they looked as if someone had sprayed them with red paint. The State presented evidence to corroborate various aspects of DeModica's testimony. For example, with respect to the knife that DeModica observed in Pelley's hand, an acquaintance testified that Harris carried a lock-blade knife and a hunting knife with a serrated edge. Moreover, each victim suffered a deep neck wound from a serrated knife. Each victim had also been shot in the head. The massive amount of blood at the crime scene and the number of injuries inflicted upon each victim were consistent with DeModica's description of Harris and Pelley following the murders. Finally, DeModica knew that the guard had been clubbed with his flashlight. This information was not released to the media and would have been known only to the killers.