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Bad heart may release murder suspect

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By The Staff

By CINDY SIMPSON

rccindysimpson@bellsouth.net

A man charged with killing a Harriman woman may soon be released from Roane County Jail.

David Cosgriff III, who is in his mid-60s, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 76-year-old Kathleen Taylor. The Clifty Street resident disappeared in 2002.

Extensive heart trouble is what may lead to Cosgriff’s release to Miracle Lake, a rehabilitation program in Etowah.

“It is a faith-based rehabilitation program, a resident rehab place,” said Assistant District Attorney Frank Harvey.

Earlier this month, Harvey said, the court approved Cosgriff’s release to the company under certain conditions.

Those conditions include wearing an ankle bracelet.

Harvey said Cosgriff is still charged with first-degree murder and faces trial.

One of the strongest arguments for his release was made by defense attorneys — that the Roane County Jail could not handle Cosgriff’s extensive health-care needs.

“We certainly appreciate it is a growing expense,” Harvey said.

Major Ken Mynatt of the sheriff’s office said it is costing about $1,100 each month for Cosgriff’s medication.

The inmate also had triple-bypass surgery the county paid for, officials said.

Mynatt said the jail is required by the U.S. Constitution to provide health care to prisoners.

Cosgriff has not yet been released to the rehab facility, but jail personnel said it could happen soon.

“There was some required medical procedures that had to be done before they would accept him at Miracle Lake,” Mynatt said.

He expects it to be another two to three days before they get the results and paperwork back.

Harriman Police Chief Randy Heidle was a Harriman investigator on the case when Taylor disappeared.

He didn’t express a strong opinion on the decision by the court.

“I live with whatever they decide. I feel good about the case. I felt good about my case file,” Heidle said.

Cosgriff and his partner, Turner’s grandson Christopher J. Zamisz were arrested in Massachusetts in May 2004.

The investigation began in July 2002 when Taylor’s daughter Linda Jackson asked police to check on her mother.

When police went to the home Taylor shared with Zamisz and Cosgriff said Taylor went to Florida for knee surgery. The claim was later refuted.

Records from Bank of America indicated more than $20,000 had been withdrawn between December and July, including transactions where one of the two men was using her card.

In December 2003 remains identified as Taylor’s were found on Mount Roosevelt Wildlife Management Area in Roane County.

Cosgriff’s case has been on appeal in the Court of Appeals on a question of admissibility of expert testimony.

The defense questions whether the remains found were those of Kathleen Turner.

The defense also has questioned whether Dr. Lee Jantz, the coordinator of the Forensic Anthropology Center at the University of Tennessee, is an expert in the field of using sinus patterns on the skull to make identification.