Rutherford County: Gordon Kent

Jan 20, 2020 at 06:48 pm by Michelle Willard

Gordon Kent was killed in Rutherford County in 1996.

Just a few days before his death, Gordon Kent buried his 97-year-old mother.

Minnie Kent of Nashville had died of pneumonia in February 1996, and her son stood to inherit at least a portion of his mother's estate.

But he wouldn't live long enough to collect his inheritance. He was found beaten to death Feb. 13, 1996, in his Murfreesboro apartment.

Anyone with information is asked to call, Murfreesboro Police Department Criminal Investigations Division at 615-893-2717 or Rutherford County Crime Stoppers at 893-STOP (7867).

The Victim

Gordon Kent was 64 years old when he was found dead in his Murfreesboro home. He stood 5'8" and weighed about 130 pounds.

According to his death notice, Gordon was retired from the National Life & Accident Insurance Co. he was survived by two daughters in South Carolina and two grandchildren.

Gordon was last seen alive Monday, Feb. 12, 1996.

The Murder

Murfreesboro Police were called in to conduct a welfare check on Gordon by his cleaning lady. She had come by for her weekly assignment and could not get him to open the door to his apartment on North Maple Street in Murfreesboro.

Officers found the retired man dead, then Detective Melvin Cunningham told the Daily News Journal on Feb. 14, 1996. Because the cause couldn't be immediately determined, investigators sent Gordon's remains to the state medical examiner for an autopsy.

The medical examiner found he had been beaten to death. His primary cause of death was blunt force trauma, which caused multiple skull fractures.

A detective later said "robbery and meanness" were the primary motive.

The Investigation

In a 2016 program on WGNS Radio, Rutherford County Assistant District Attorney J. Paul Newman reviewed the case.

Newman said Gordon's neighbors reported seeing two men enter his apartment, staying only a short time. They were driving a dark-colored foreign car, perhaps a Mitsubishi. The car later returned but with only one man inside. The man, described as white and young, then entered the apartment and the neighbor heard yelling and banging from inside. Then it went suspiciously quiet before the man left.

Gordon was never seen alive again.

On Feb. 13, 1996, Gordon's cleaning lady came to do her weekly duties but the door went unanswered. She called her husband, who was a friend of the family. He then called police for a welfare check. With help from the landlord, they were able to enter the apartment, where they found Gordon beaten to death.

The case was reopened in 2016 by MPD Detective James Abbott and others re-interviewed witnesses and sent evidence to the TBI's crime lab for additional analysis.

"We do believe this case is solvable," Abbott said, adding he has a prime suspect after gaining insight into the case.

The hardest part of cold cases is finding the person with the correct information. In order to make an arrest, Abbott is still looking for the person who holds the last piece of the puzzle.