MARYVILLE, Tenn. – Law enforcement authorities in a small Tennessee town believe they’ve solved a double homicide that occurred more than 46 years ago — the city’s oldest cold case murder. Police have arrested an 80-year-old man in the gunshot slayings of his parents whose bodies were found decomposed by a telephone repairman at their house in 1977.
Michael Keith Fine, 80, was indicted for first-degree murder in the deaths of his parents, Helen D. Fine and Maynard H. Fine. The couple was found dead May 20, 1977. Fine was arrested by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday morning in Birmingham, Alabama. He was booked at the Jefferson County Jail and awaits extradition to Tennessee, the Maryville Police Department said.
“As often happens in cold cases such as this, such a horrendous and unresolved matter is never truly forgotten, especially by the family members and the detectives who worked so hard to bring those responsible to justice,” Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp said during a press conference.
The Marysville Police Department received a call at 9:30 a.m. from a Bell South technician who found a decomposed body in a car outside the residence on the date in May more than 46 years ago.
The telephone technician responded to the home regarding a third party complaint about service. The Fine’s had not been seen alive since they had dinner with friends on May 6, two weeks prior to the date they were found dead, Law&Crime reported.
Police responded to the scene and discovered the partially decomposed body of Helen Fine, 54, sitting in her car, while her 67-year-old husband Maynard Fine was found in a state of similar decomposition inside the house. Each one had been shot multiple times.
Despite their best efforts, police were unable to solve the double homicide and the case eventually went cold.
The case was reopened in May 2021 after a family member called investigators asking about an update.
The murder weapon was initially found in a landfill in 1978. Subsequent forensic evidence that was discovered tied the accused killer to the firearm as well as the point of entry at the couple’s home, according to law enforcement authorities.
“The grand jury was presented evidence, including forensic evidence, that tied Michael Keith Fine to the entry point of the residence,” Chief Crisp said. “Additional evidence was found that tied Michael Keith Fine to the murder weapon that was used.”
Blount County District Attorney Ryan Desmond said at the news conference that authorities are also trying to find a woman, then a teen, who lived with the victims that they haven’t been able to identify and who isn’t considered a suspect, but may have evidence related to the case.