A former Marine has been found dead in his small apartment at the edge of downtown, the victim of an apparent homicide committed in one of the heaviest patrolled areas of McMinnville.
The victim has been identified as Barry Cole, 55, who was the resident of the small building near the corner of Lind and Morford streets across from Super Rama. His body was discovered Monday afternoon, his death suspected to be the result of homicide.
Mr. Cole’s remains have been sent for autopsy at the medical examiner’s office in Nashville in hopes a forensic pathologist may be able to confirm the cause of death. In the meantime, McMinnville Police Department, the DA’s office and TBI are following what leads they have in hopes of catching his killer.
McMinnville Police Chief Bryan Denton remained tight-lipped Tuesday about specifics concerning the active homicide case. He could neither confirm nor deny there is a suspect and said he could not reveal what they believe led to Cole’s death, or how long he had been deceased before his body was found.
However, given the location of the crime scene, at the edge of the historic downtown district, Denton did say there is no reason to believe there is a random killer stalking the streets of the usually quiet city.
“There is no evidence there is a random killer on the loose,” said Denton, saying that while people should always take precautions no matter where they live, there is no recent history of random violence in McMinnville. “Downtown is one of the most patrolled zones in the entire county.”
Investigators worked the scene of the crime deep into the evening Monday night. TBI agents emerged with bags of apparent evidence from time to the time, while a Confederate flag fluttering over the door.
The homicide is the third in McMinnville in just over a year. In January 2016, Oswaldo Luna was shot to death while he slept inside his small trailer behind a business in Mt. Leo. His alleged killers, six Coffee County youths, have been arrested. Their motive was to steal drugs from the victim.
The next homicide happened outside the Marathon station in Mt. Leo in March 2016 when Justin Nunley, 32, was shot dead in the parking lot. His death was ruled an act of self-defense after David Morton, 41, maintained he was attacked by Nunley, who was found by police lying dead on the pavement still clutching a knife. It is believed the incident was over a woman who worked at the store.