Loudon County sheriff: Victim identified in robbery, homicide


LENOIR CITY (WATE) – Three suspects were charged after a man was shot and killed during a robbery.

Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider said William “Billy” Roberts was found dead at his home, located at 3032 Dutton Road. Robby Covington, Brittney Smith and James Clapham were charged with first-degree murder, aggravated burglary and especially aggravated robbery in connection with the incident. They are both convicted felons.

Sheriff Guider said Convington and Clapham admitted they knew Roberts had a large sum of money and planned to rob him. Both admitted to the robbery, but blamed the other person for the shooting.

robbie-covington-2
Robbie Covington

Convington and Clapham broke into Roberts’ home with their faces covered and confronted him in his bedroom, according to Sheriff Guider. After getting Roberts’ safe open, he said they stole several thousands of dollars in cash, firearms and narcotics, placing them in a pillowcase.

Roberts was hit with a blunt object, according to Sheriff Guider. He was also shot once in the head.

After Roberts was shot, Sheriff Guider said Convington and Clapham left the house, dropping several hundred dollars and firearms. He said they both went to Clapham’s father’s house in Madisonville and divided the money. Afterward, witnesses told investigators they saw Convington entering his residence with cash.

Smith was taken into custody Thursday.

Roberts’ body was found Saturday at around 9:30 a.m. by a neighbor who was performing a welfare check, according to Sheriff Gunther. He said the neighbor saw the money in the driveway and a door that was ajar.

james-clapham-2
James Clapham

The neighbor immediately notified authorities. When Loudon County Sheriff’s Office got to the home, Sheriff Guider said they found Roberts lying across his bed. Three firearms were collected as evidence. Two of the guns were found in a field. Sheriff Guider said he believes one of the firearms is the weapon used to kill Roberts.

Investigators closed Dutton Road to preserve evidence. After talking with neighbors, investigators were able to identify a person of interest and notified the Blount County Sheriff’s Office. At 2:00 p.m. a person of interest was detained by the Blount County Sheriff’s Office attempting to travel to Texas.

“The investigation is ongoing but I am very very proud to be a leader of such a fine group of people who worked tirelessly.” Says Guider. “From interviews, both charged individuals indicated they played a part in certain elements of the crime.”

A celebration of life for Roberts is scheduled for Friday, February 24, at 2 p.m. at Lenoir City Park.

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