Knox County Sheriff's Office detective who helped win Huskey's only
conviction. "He wasn't tried for it, but he did it. We acted in good
faith, but the very paper we picked him up on was thrown out by the
Gregory P. Isaacs, who along with Herbert S.
Moncier defended Huskey, didn't discuss specifics of the case but
described it as a personal and professional milestone.
"It was an all-star lineup of attorneys,
prosecutors and experts from across the country," Isaacs said. "When I
first began representing Tom Huskey, it was the biggest case in the
state of Tennessee. I had no children then. Now, 17 years and four
kids later, we're still litigating cases involving Tom Huskey. It was,
is, and always will be an overwhelming case."
Bodies in the brush
The case began in February
1992, months before a single prostitute died, when a woman came to
Knoxville police with a lie that led them to a rapist in the act.
"She told me she'd been abducted inside the city,
taken to a spot in the county and raped, then tied up and robbed,"
said Tom Pressley, a retired Knoxville Police Department investigator.
"She lied to begin with, because she didn't want to admit she was a
prostitute. She took me and showed me where it happened."
The woman led Pressley to a secluded patch of woods
off Cahaba Lane in East Knox County, a spot littered with mattresses
and used condoms and favored by prostitutes and their johns.
"We got to the dead end, and she said, 'There's his
car,' " Pressley recalled. "As I went on up there, she saw her stuff.
We went into the woods, and she said, 'There he is now.' He had this
other little girl naked and on her knees."
Pressley stopped Huskey at gunpoint and arrested
him on the spot. Stewart, the KCSO investigator, picked up the case
after the women admitted being prostitutes who went to Cahaba Lane
The women refused to testify, and Huskey went free.
"I think he did what a lot of criminals do,"
Stewart said. "He learned from his mistakes. He decided the next time,
he was not going to leave any witnesses behind."
Experts say that's a common step in the evolution
of a serial killer. Most such killers begin with lesser offenses, such
as rapes or indecent exposure, and work their way up to the next
Eight months later, on Oct. 20, 1992, a hunter
walked up on the body of Patricia Rose Anderson, 32, in the same woods
off Cahaba. A search by deputies the following week turned up two more
bodies, then a fourth - all naked and strangled.
Pressley, the KPD investigator, heard the news,
recognized the spot and picked up the phone.
"I called the county and told them, 'I think I know
who your killer is,' " Pressley said.
Kyle and the Zoo Man
Police learned Huskey had earned the nickname "Zoo
Man" from Knoxville's prostitutes after a series of rapes near the zoo,
where he'd worked in the elephant barn. Victims began to come forward.
A search of Huskey's parents' home in nearby Pigeon
Forge turned up rope, porn and jewelry detectives believed had been
taken from the dead women. But KCSO investigators relied on a search
warrant issued by a city judicial commissioner - who an appellate
court ruled had no authority to issue the warrant.
Huskey claimed to suffer from multiple personality
disorder and blamed the killings on "Kyle," an alter ego who claimed
to hate Huskey and wanted to ruin his life. Prosecutors said he faked
mental illness and pulled the name from East Knoxville's Kyle Avenue,
where the Huskey family once lived.
Those statements hit the trash after judges ruled
the confession had been coerced.
"I was there," said David Davenport, a retired
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent who assisted KCSO detectives.
"I disagree. I personally feel he conned the whole system. He
certainly gave that statement knowing what rights he had. Most of his
story, he gleaned from television. When he became Kyle, he showed no
remorse. He knew he was caught."
The case dragged on for years. Two juries found
Huskey guilty in rapes committed before the killings, but a jury
deadlocked on the murder charges in 1999.
In October 2005, 13 years after the discovery of
Anderson's body, District Attorney General Randy Nichols gave up the
murder case, and Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner dismissed