Kingsport man pleads guilty in Lynn Garden murder

Rain Smith • Sep 11, 2018 at 8:00 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — A Kingsport man accused of hogtying a Lynn Garden resident and fatally gagging him pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, among other charges, Tuesday. 

Jeffrey Dale Flanary, 53, was originally arrested on Feb. 4, 2017, following a highly visible and hours-long manhunt involving a helicopter, officers on the ground and K9s. He was apprehended four days after police located the body of Michael Dale Davidson, 59, in his Mull Street home.

Initially, the Kingsport Police Department publicly referred to Davidson’s death as “suspicious.” According to Sullivan County Assistant District Attorney William Harper, Davidson was found tied up with a cloth stuck in his mouth, and asphyxiation was the cause of death.

Police later released photos of Davidson’s van, saying it was missing. On Feb. 3, the KPD announced warrants had been issued for Flanary’s arrest on a first-degree murder charge.

That afternoon, reports of Flanary being spotted spurred extensive police searches of residential areas just west of Lynn Garden. As evening stretched into nightfall, the manhunt expanded. The following morning, Flanary was arrested near the Interstate 26 interchange, where he allegedly tried to run from police but was quickly apprehended.

Harper told the Times News that Flanary and Davidson were acquaintances who had once worked together. Along with Davidson’s vehicle, cash was stolen from his home, so the motive in the murder is believed to be robbery.

For the past 19 months, Flanary has been held in the Sullivan County jail on $250,000 bond. On Tuesday, he appeared in Sullivan County Criminal Court and pleaded guilty to multiple charges: second-degree murder, especially aggravated robbery, two counts of tampering with evidence and evading arrest.

Flanary was sentenced to 25 years in prison with no parole, putting the age at the time of his release at 78.