Will there finally be justice for Zebb Quinn and his family?
WLOS reported Monday that Robert Jason Owens, a prime suspect in the mysterious disappearance 17 years ago of Quinn, has reached a plea agreement in a separate, high-profile homicide case.
In the plea agreement, to be presented before a judge on Thursday, Owens will not face the death penalty for the 2015 murders of J.T. Codd and his wife, Cristie Codd, who was pregnant at the time, WLOS reports. Owens was arrested and charged with murdering the Codds, whom he knew and for whom he did some construction work.
Could Owens dodge the death penalty in that case by providing more definitive information about the Zebb Quinn case? I’m just speculating here, but it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility. The murder of the Codds was vicious, and Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams has shown no aversion to going after the death penalty: he’s seeking death for the suspect arrested and charged a couple of years ago for killing three people, including two women, whose bodies were dumped in the French Broad river.
Zebb Quinn’s disappearance caught local and national attention. Quinn, by all reports, was a good kid. He was just 18 years old and working in the electronics department at the Walmart on Hendersonville Road when he met Owens after work to go look at a car Quinn was interested in buying. Quinn and Owens were friends.
They headed out in separate cars. As Owens tells it, Quinn pulled over on Long Shoals Road after receiving a call on his pager and said he couldn’t continue on. He left, never to be seen again. Two days later, Owens called Walmart pretending to be Quinn and calling in sick. Owens says he did that at Quinn’s request.
Quinn’s vehicle, a Mazda, as discovered two weeks after his disappearance. It was parked in Little Pigs BBQ restaurant lot on McDowell Avenue, near Mission Hospital, where Quinn’s mother worked. A pair of lips were drawn on the car’s rear windshield, with an exclamation mark on either side. A live puppy, a Lab mix, was found in the car.
The investigation dragged on and police were never able to marshal enough evidence to charge anyone. The investigation into the Codds’ disappearance/deaths gave investigators a new chance to search the the house and property where Owens lived. Police haven’t commented on what they may, or may not, have found in their search.
Here’s hoping that Thursday’s court appearance will bring some answers to the many questions in Quinn’s case.
This well-written Spin magazine story captures all of the key characters involved in the Zebb Quinn case.