Donnie Jones, 37, pleaded guilty to first degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Police said Jones killed 24-year-old Megan Sharpton in July 2012.
Sharpton’s partially burned body was found July 2, 2012 on Awalt Bridge Rd in Franklin County. Her car was found later that day in Bedford County, while her purse was discovered two days later in a creek in Estill Springs. Her death was ruled a homicide and detectives said preliminary reports indicated that Sharpton died of blunt force trauma. She was a nursing student at Shelbyville Tech and waitress at a Tullahoma restaurant.
Jones was considered a person of interest for months, but he was not indicted until November. He was charged with first-degree murder, felony murder, two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping and two counts of aggravated rape.
He had previously been arrested and held since September on an unrelated weapons charge.
Authorities said results from DNA evidence sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation crime lab led to his arrest.
Authorities said Jones has 21 felony convictions on various charges including burglary, forgery, and attempted rape.
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