- [S76] Atchley Funeral Home Records, Volume III, 1974-1986, Larry D. Fox, (Smoky Mountain Historical Society), 17 Jan 1974.
John Arnold Griffin obituary
- [S74] Atchley Funeral Home Records, Volume IV, 1987-1999, Larry D. Fox, (Smoky Mountain Historical Society), 11 May 1994.
Fanny Viola Griffin obituary
- [S74] Atchley Funeral Home Records, Volume IV, 1987-1999, Larry D. Fox, (Smoky Mountain Historical Society), 28 Feb 1992.
Branam, Connie Griffin 33 b. 5/6/58 Sev d. found 2/28/92 DOA SMC motel maid f. Ben Mayford Griffin m. Viola Lewis educa 9 Martin Justus Cem Survivors: hus Boyd Branam 2348 Bluff Heights Sev 1 son David Branam 2 dau Sandy Branam Jenny Branam m. 2 bro James Griffin Billy Griffin 3 sis Stella Whitted Lucy Griffin Tammy Griffin.
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 17 Nov 2005.
Men file for new court trial
Pair convicted in two 1992 slayings
From Staff Reports November 17, 2005
Men convicted of two 1992 slayings, one in Sevier County and one in Blount County, are hoping an Knoxville court overturns their convictions.
James Anderson Dellinger and his nephew, Gary Wayne Sutton, filed the appeals. Their case is on the docket for 9 a.m. Nov. 29 at the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals in Knoxville.
The convictions and sentences were affirmed in appeal denials in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Dellinger, and Sutton were convicted of two 1992 slayings, one in Sevier County and one in Blount County.
They were sentenced to life in prison by a Sevier County court in 1993 for the February 1992 murder of Connie Branam. Then in 1996, they were sentenced to die in the electric chair by a Blount County court for the February 1992 murder of Branam's brother, Tommy Griffin.
- [S4] Knoxville News-Sentinel (Tennessee), 3 Sep 2007.
Court rejects appeal by death row inmate
Man found guilty of 1992 murder claims conviction flawed on 12 separate points
By Robert Wilson
MARYVILLE ó In a 47-page opinion, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals has turned down a death row inmateís claim that his first-degree murder conviction was flawed on 12 separate points.
James A. Dellinger was convicted in 1992 in the shooting death of Tommy Griffin, whose body was found Feb. 24, 1992, at a spot on the Little River known as the Blue Hole.
Griffinís sister, Connie Branam, who had accompanied Dellinger and his co-defendant in Griffinís killing in a search for her missing brother, was found dead four days after Griffin in her burned-out vehicle in Sevier County.
The case was a high-profile one in Blount County. Dellinger and Gary Wayne Sutton were found guilty and sentenced to death.
More than 15 years after the conviction, the Court of Criminal Appeals turned down Dellingerís appeal point by point. Dellinger had claimed a dozen issues on which he said the conviction and sentence should be reversed, including ineffective counsel, challenges to the stateís death penalty law and how that penalty is imposed, and a violation of international law.
The court found no merit in any of Dellingerís claims.
The opinionís narrative of the circumstances of the Griffin killing shows that Dellinger, Sutton and Griffin went out for an afternoon of drinking at a Maryville bar on Feb. 21, 1992, and left the bar at about 7 p.m. in a dark-colored Camaro.
Shortly thereafter, witnesses reported seeing three men involved in an altercation in a dark Camaro on Alcoa Highway near Hunt Road. An investigating officer found Griffin with two men ó not Sutton and Dellinger ó on the side of the road. Griffin told the officer that friends he would not identify had put him out of their car. Griffin was arrested for public intoxication.
About 9 p.m., Dellingerís white truck was seen near Griffinís trailer, which caught on fire minutes later, court documents state. Dellinger also was seen in possession of what appeared to be a shotgun wrapped in a sheet, according to the opinionís narrative.
Around 11:25 p.m., Dellinger and Sutton went to the Blount County Jail and posted a cash bond for Griffin. A half-hour later, gunshots were heard in the vicinity of the Blue Hole.
The next day, Connie Branam went with Sutton and Dellinger back to the bar the trio had been at the previous evening and questioned waitresses about whom Griffin left with.
Dellinger told one of them that Griffin had left with ďa short, dark-haired, ugly woman.Ē But one of the waitresses remembered Griffin leaving with Dellinger and Sutton.
About 8 p.m. that night, a couple who lived near the Clear Fork area in Sevier County noticed a fire in the woods, and two men in a white truck were seen rapidly leaving the fire scene the next morning, the opinionís narrative states.
At 3:30 p.m. Feb. 24, Griffinís body was found with a shotgun wound to the base of the skull near the Blue Hole. Shells found at the scene were later determined to have been fired from a shotgun that also had fired shells found in Dellingerís yard, according to court documents.
On Feb. 28, Connie Branamís body was found in her burned vehicle near the wooded spot in Sevier County where the fire had earlier been seen. Her body was so badly burned that a time or cause of death could not be determined.
A specialist ruled the fire arson, and a bullet casing found in the vehicle was matched to a rifle later found in Dellingerís home, according to court documents.
Dellinger and Sutton were charged with first-degree murder in Griffinís death and sentenced to death. Both also were convicted in February 1993 of Branamís death in Sevier County, and each received life sentences plus two years for arson.