Loudon County sheriff's deputies converse at the scene of Ron Kronholm's murder in the driveway of his Tellico Village, Tenn., home on Sept. 23. John Nevans, 67, was charged in the shooting and arrested at his Dayton home Tuesday.
A Dayton man is in the Loudon County Jail after authorities said a strained business relationship allegedly led him to kill a Tellico Village property developer, formerly of Dayton.
John Lee Nevans was on a list of suspects in the Sept. 23 slaying of a Loudon County developer almost immediately, according to a Loudon County detective.
Nevans, 67, of 330 Highland Drive, Dayton, was arrested Tuesday evening at his home and charged with first-degree murder five days after Ron Kronholm's wife walked into their Tellico Village home and found her 79-year-old, wheelchair-bound husband dead from several shotgun wounds. Kronholm suffered from a chronic muscle disease.
Kronholm was a prominent developer in Loudon County.
Lt. Patrick Upton of the Loudon County Sheriff's Office said it didn't take long for people who knew Kronholm to mention Nevans and his business dealings with Kronholm. The two may have begun their business relationship in Dayton, Upton said. Kronholm used to live in Dayton and develop property in the early 1990s, and his wife has family in Rhea County.
"It didn't take long before we were there for his name to come up," Upton said.
Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider told news media at a pres conference Wednesday that Nevans was unhappy with his and Kronholm's business dealings.
According to state records, Nevans also owns several properties in Tellico Village.
An arrest warrant issued for Nevans from Loudon County includes an affidavit filed by Upton recording several pieces of evidence authorities said tie Nevans to the shooting. The affidavit says Nevans was angry with Kronholm because Nevans was losing money on property. The warrant also says that Nevans was seen on surveillance video at a deli a few miles away from Kronholm's house around the time of the murder. Blood splatters were found on Nevans's clothing as well, the warrant states.
Upton said Friday investigators still have not found the weapon used to kill Kronholm or the pair of tennis shoes Nevans was allegedly wearing when he was spotted on surveillance video. Nevans also allegedly told family members before being arrested that he wanted to go to South America, according to the warrant.
Kronholm was home alone Thursday, Sept. 23, when he was killed. His wife arrived shortly after and found her husband's body. She went to a neighbor's house, who then called police, according to published reports. Upton responded at 5:04 p.m. that day.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney General Russell Johnson said at the press conference Wednesday that he may push for the death penalty against Nevans in the event of a conviction.
Nevans has no official criminal record, but newspaper archives indicate he was arrested in 2007 for trying to set fire to the former Do It Best home center on Walnut Grove Road. Nevans's family reportedly told The Herald-News that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and was undergoing psychological evaluations at the time.
Messages left for Nevans's family this week went unreturned.
The News-Herald in Loudon County, Tenn., and The Daily Times in Maryville, Tenn., contributed to this story.
Michael Reneau can be contacted at email@example.com