After a brutal murder on Halloween night several states away that's being investigated as a hate crime, a major break in the case has led police across the country to Middle Tennessee.
Brandon Simon, Joseph Holt and Zack Burgess are three small-time troublemakers and lifetime Cheatham County residents.
Police say the three men were known drug addicts who had all been kicked out of their families' homes for stealing and all the bad stuff that comes with drug addiction.
"You need money for your next fix, and how are you going to get it? You're going to break into a house and steal something. And that's what led these boys to the mess that they're in now," said Cheatham County Sheriff's Lt. Shannon Heflin.
Now, they are the three primary suspects in the Halloween night murder of 36-year-old Brian Weathers, a former soldier and gay man who was tortured and murdered at his home in Mesa, AZ.
Investigators believe the men stole a car in Tennessee before driving to Arizona and back. Along with the murder investigation, police are looking into the possibility that they could be connected to robberies in the other states along the way.
Heflin knows all three men, some for years, and said he honestly didn't see the violence in them and did not see this coming.
"I really don't know what got them going in the direction that they're in now, but you just never would have suspected they would be involved in a murder," Heflin said.
Police say when the men were arrested in Tennessee, they still had evidence linking them to all of their crimes, including the murder in Arizona.
Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
1115 Mt. Auburn Road
Public File Contact: