Erika “Megan” Sharpton, also known as Megan Sharpton, was a Tennessee woman who was found dead and burning in what was thought to be a grass fire five years ago. Her killer was Donnie Frank Jones Jr, who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for her rape and murder. Investigation Discovery has picked up the story and will be dramatizing it on their crime documentary Murder Comes To Town. The episode pertaining to Megan Sharpton is titled “Answering The Call.” ID’s Murder Comes To Town is a riveting crime series that analyzes cases that have happened in small towns.
Murder Comes To Town: Tullahoma Nursing Student Vanishes, Found Dead
Megan Sharpton was supposed to go to her mother’s home to see her sister who was visiting from out of town. She also had a job interview lined up for the day. But Megan Sharpton never made it. In fact, her family had no idea what had happened to her that night.
Megan Sharpton’s mother, who had an extremely close relationship with her, was horrified when she learned on social media that a body had been found burning off of Awalt Road, near Tims Ford Lake, in Franklin County. But there was one more thing that let Kelly Hale Sharpton know immediately that it was her missing daughter — the dead woman had two star tattoos on her body.
WHNT-19 reported that around 1:00 a.m. on July 1, 2012, a motorist saw a brightly lit fire in the field. He reported it immediately believing that it was a grass fire. But when detectives arrived they found the smoldering corpse of a dead female. The victim was nude from the waist down.
She was later identified as 24-year-old Erika Megan Sharpton of Coffee County. According to the autopsy report, Megan was sexually assaulted before the murder. By the condition of the body, it seemed that the victim had fought for her life.
Megan Sharpton’s boyfriend told detectives that he last saw her at the house before he left for work around 6:00 p.m. Her car was found the same day in another location near Three Forks Bridge.
Her death was a mystery. The boyfriend was cleared. From there no one knew what could have happened to Megan. There was a lot of speculation in the town between Coffee and Franklin Counties. People who knew Megan at the steakhouse where she worked were devastated by the news.
Donnie Jones pleads 'not guilty' on murder charges in the death of Megan Sharpton. pic.twitter.com/OAt6Wxm7— The Tullahoma News (@TullahomaNews) November 16, 2012
Murder Comes To Town: A Suspect Is Named
Her mother, Kelly Hale Sharpton, was beside herself with grief. People took to blogs and social media to vent their frustrations and speculations about who had done it.
DNA and CODIS linked the murder of Megan Sharpton to an ex-con named Donnie Frank Jones Jr., according to the website Blink On Crime. Some suspected that the killer was Donnie Frank Jones Jr., and he knew that some people had their eye on him. In retaliation, Donnie allegedly used intimidation to detract attention away from him.
According to WZTV FOX 17, police learned that Donnie Jones’ wife knew Megan. They also learned that Donnie Jones was behind the phone call to Megan about a job interview. Tennessee detectives finally arrested Donnie and indicted him for murder. Prosecutors eyed the death penalty. But Donnie Jones pleaded guilty and received a life sentence. It’s interesting that he brutally killed Megan, but when it came to his own life, he wanted to spare it.
Known for her starry tattoos and her favorite pink purse, Megan Sharpton was a beautiful person, a caring young lady who had a big heart for people who were downtrodden in life. She was going to nursing school and had a really bright future. However, her mother was always concerned for her because she was naive and too trusting. Megan didn’t have an eye for danger. In an interview with CNN, Kelly Hale Sharpton discussed her daughter’s love for people.
“She would go to the back streets of Ann Arbor and visit with these people and she was probably 15 years old, and I was telling her, you can`t just wander around the back streets, but she said but mommy, he needs a friend, he needs somebody to talk to. And you know, actually, just had that compassion for people, that trust, that love for humans. She gave everybody the same benefit of the doubt. She thought that there were no bad people, just people that made bad choices sometimes and she thought they all deserved the same fair chance. So she, you know, maybe was a little too empathetic with people. I don`t know.”
It’s too bad that the motorist didn’t arrive on the scene in time to save Megan’s life. According to the authorities, killer Donnie Frank Jones Jr., set Megan’s body on fire just 10 minutes before the motorist came upon the scene.
Person of interest in the Megan sharpton case, may he finally get his. pic.twitter.com/WeN8vEqm— Tanya Reeves (@reeves_tanya) September 28, 2012
Mother’s Fight To Put Killer Behind Bars Ends In Her Own Tragic Death
After going to the press to talk about her daughter’s memory and fighting to have Donnie Jones arrested for the murder, Kelly Hale Sharpton died. According to the Times Free Press, the pain of her daughter’s death was too intense. She committed suicide inside of a motel room in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in November 2013. Kelly Hale Sharpton was 47 years old.
Here are a few things to look over before the show starts.
Tune into Murder Comes To Town this Friday, March 31, at 10/9 p.m. Central on Investigation Discovery. Recently, Inquisitr brought you the story of Shelley Mook, a missing Shelbyville, Tennessee, mother who vanished in 2011. Her car was found burned in a remote field. Shelley Mook’s body was never found.
[Featured Image by Zack Frank/Shutterstock]