‘He was a good kid’: Mother remembers son who was murdered, suspects now in custody


BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL)- Just hours before two people were arrested in connection to the murder of Anthony Hammonds, News Channel 11 sat down with his mother, who was still in shock over the loss of her son.

Late Friday afternoon, Washington County, Virginia Sheriff Blake Andis announced the arrests of Terry Linebaugh and Heather Jones.

Both Linebaugh and Jones were arrested for reportedly killing Anthony Hammonds, then setting a home on fire to try and hide the crime.

Linebaugh was arrested while walking on East Stone Drive.

Jones was arrested by the Kingsport Police Department’s SWAT team at the Americourt Motel on East Stone Drive.

Saran Malone, the mother of Anthony Hammonds, said she was still in shock after learning her son was murdered.

The last time she saw him was on father’s day.

“He was a good kid. Always helped me with his brothers and sisters,” Malone said.

Anthony Hammonds was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds Monday, June 29 at a vacant home in the 20,000 block of Mary’s Chapel Road, in Bristol, Virginia.

Hammonds had six children.

“He loved their momma and he loved them with all of his heart. They just had some problems,” Malone said. “He was a hard worker. He took care of his babies, played with them in the yard. They played with chickens.”

His mother recalls a car accident in 2007 that left him partially brain damaged, but he still strived to remain present in his kids’ lives.

“We about lost him. He lived on life support,” Malone said.

Malone said Hammonds’ kindness lead him to Heather Jones about six months ago, after seeing a Facebook post about her needing help getting back to Bristol from Knoxville.

“Her children were in the state’s custody. Apparently, she had went to Knoxville wherever they were at, to visit them and she got stuck up there with no money to get back home,” Malone said. “We see a lot of parents that just don’t care so we really thought and we sent her the money to get back to Bristol.”

According to Malone, the two started dating shortly after.

“Anthony loved Heather,” she said.

She said she does not know Terry Linebaugh.

“I don’t know anything about the boy [Terry Linebaugh]. I’ve never met him. I’ve never spoke with him,” Malone said. “All I know about him is he killed my son.”

His mother said her son had recently given his life up to God.

“My son had went to church with a friend of his named Junior. He got saved, so I know he’s with the Lord,” Malone said.

“I think he should get the death penalty because I really don’t feel that justice will be served for him to sit in prison for the rest of his life because hasn’t he been there 16 years already? That is his life,” Malone said. “I feel that they should give him the death penalty, like as soon as possible. Don’t wait five, ten years… a year. He didn’t give my son a chance and all my son did was love, Heather.” You know, Anthony loved Heather just as much as Terry did.”

In a news briefing earlier this week, Sheriff Andis outlined the charges both suspects now face.

Linebaugh, 35, of Blountville is charged with:

  • First-Degree Murder
  • Conspiracy to Commit Murder
  • Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony
  • Convicted Felon in Possession of a Firearm
  • Arson

Jones, 32, of Piney Flats, is charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

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