Dickson son fights to keep mother's killer behind bars

Newberry Family

After serving 25 years, a Dickson teen's killer is up for parole soon. Jimmy Spann confessed to shooting Karie Ann Newberry on their first date then setting her body on fire.

FOX 17 News spoke with Newberry's family as they try to keep the state from setting Karie's killer free.

DJ Tucker lost his mother 25 years ago, when he was only a baby. Due to a heinous crime, he grew up without his mother.

"You see kids have their mom there, and I never had mine. Just growing up without her and wondering what it would be like if she would've been here to raise me," Tucker said. "He took her away from me when I was 5-months old. I don't even remember her, except for pictures and the stories they've told me."

Tucker's grandfather keeps Karie's memory alive with stories and scrapbooks for her son. Newberry said he tracked down then 20-year-old Spann shortly after his 17-year-old daughter didn't return home from a date in December 1993.

"After they found her body burning in the woods, he confessed to killing her," Newberry said. "What I was told: He shot her five times point blank in the side of the head, then drug her down across the road down in a field and laid her on a tree that fell and set her on fire to cover it up."

Tucker expressed his confusion about the possibility of Spann getting out.

"How can you let someone out that murdered someone and then burned their body," Tucker added. "I guess my fear is him getting out and doing it to someone else."

Karie's son now studies criminal justice as the family prepares for Spann's first parole board hearing on September 20.

"The day they sentenced him, he turned around and smiled and I think if they let him out, he is going to do it again," Newberry said. "He's still got a lot of years left in him. Karie was a real good person."

Karie's son said he won't give up on keeping Spann behind bars.

"Never give up and always fight for whats right," Tucker said.

According to the parole board notification, a final decision on offenders happens a few weeks after the hearing.

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