Michael Keith Fine's arrest also marks a breakthrough in the Maryville Police Department’s oldest cold case
An 80-year-old Alabama man was arrested this week after authorities allege he killed his parents nearly 50 years ago in Tennessee.
On Monday, a Tennessee grand jury indicted Michael Keith Fine on two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the 1977 deaths of his parents, Helen D. Fine and Maynard H. Fine, according to a statement from the Maryville Police Department.
Michael was arrested Tuesday in Birmingham, Ala., police said. He was being held in the Jefferson County Jail while he awaits extradition to Tennessee. It’s unclear if he has retained an attorney to speak on his behalf.
At a Wednesday press conference streamed by WAVE 9, Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp said a telephone repairman found 54-year-old Helen’s body in a car outside of the couple’s Maryville home on May 20, 1977. After police arrived, they also discovered the body of Maynard, 67, inside the home.
An autopsy revealed that the victims had died from multiple gunshot wounds.
The case eventually went cold despite the department's investigative efforts, but it was reopened in May 2021 after family members reached out for an update, Crisp said.
Crisp explained that with the help of newer technology, investigators were able to tie Michael to the “entry points of the residence” and the murder weapon, which authorities recovered a year after the murders at a local landfill, according to WAVE 9. The suspect was reportedly 34 years old at the time of the murders.
“As General Desmond indicated, he wanted modern science to look at that evidence again, he wanted people who were alive and could testify to what evidence was collected, we were able to obtain some additional forensic information from some technology that exists today that didn’t exist then,” Crisp said, per the outlet.
Crisp said Michael was considered a person of interest in the initial investigation.
As the investigation continues, police are also looking for a woman who was a teenager in 1977 and lived with the married couple in the months leading up to their murders.
“We have never been able to locate or identify that individual and we have reason to believe that individual may have very relevant evidence related to this homicide,” Blount County District Attorney Ryan Desmond said at the press conference. He added that the person, who may have been a high school student at the time, would not be considered a suspect.
Crisp told reporters that he spoke with the victims' families who expressed gratitude for the closure given up to this point in the investigation and thanked law enforcement for their efforts.
Michael’s arrest also marks a breakthrough in the Maryville Police Department’s oldest cold case.
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