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Fisherman testifies about finding body

A fisherman who found the body of murder victim Tracy Martin just before Thanksgiving 2011 admits he and his son almost bypassed the victim not realizing what they were seeing in the Collins River was a dead person.
“At first I thought it was a blow-up doll,” testified Eddie Youngblood on the opening day of the trial of accused murderer Chad Thompson.
Youngblood admitted he and his son continued fishing for several more minutes before boating over to where they saw the figure on the opposite bank. “You don’t expect to go out fishing and find a body in the water.”
Youngblood said they actually motored over to the strange figure because his son was going to take a picture of it.
“When we got close, it really hit,” Youngblood revealed noting he knew the figure was human when he saw a wedding band.
The victim was found at the edge of the river with his upper torso submerged. He was apparently tossed off a bluff above the river.
Once the body was identified as that of Tracy Martin, lawmen pieced together what brought him to Warren County. Martin he had lived with his sister in East Tennessee for years.
“He was bipolar and schizophrenic and I had to kind of treat him like a son,” testified Tonya Debude, the victim’s sister. Debude said he came to McMinnville wanting to get back with his estranged wife who lives here along with his two young children.
Debude said she was executor of her brother’s Social Security check, which he was receiving for mental disability. Her responsibility was passed on to Ozella Craven when he moved here about a month before his murder.
“We got a little over $11,000 for his Social Security,” Craven testified saying she gave him $1,300 when they first cashed his check.
She also said she bought him a gun. Craven, however, said she did not see any problems between Martin and his cousin.
“He loved Chad,” Craven said of Martin’s feelings about his alleged killer.
The 38-caliber handgun in question became relevant later in the first day of the trial. Sheriff’s investigator Jason Rowland revealed footage of Martin buying ammunition and a laser sight for the gun. The video was caught by security cameras inside Walmart. The victim was wearing the same clothes he was found dead in, suggesting he was murdered shortly after the visit to Walmart.
Prosecutors believe Thompson took the gun and Martin’s money after he killed him with a hammer. They further believe he sold the gun to a friend, the same friend who he asked to help him rob someone.
The friend, Destry Cobb, who has a long criminal history, said he turned down Thompson’s offer to split the money they would make from the robbery. Cobb admitted Thompson never mentioned Martin by name when recruiting him for the crime.
Cobb further said Thompson sold him a 38-caliber handgun which he later sold to someone else. However, later fearing it was used in the murder of Martin, Cobb tried to get the gun back, saying he was reportedly going to “melt it down” to get rid of the evidence. Cobb is a convicted felon and could face a long federal sentence for possessing the gun.
In addition to the gun, Cobb said he saw Thompson with a large amount of cash.
Cobb was the last person to testify for the state during the opening day of trial Tuesday.


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