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Maples guilty of murder

Denver Carson Maples entered a plea of guilty Monday afternoon to second-degree murder in the death of 13-month-old Maci Elizabeth Tindall-Scott.

Maples, 27, of Tazewell, appeared late Monday afternoon before Judge Shayne Sexton along with his attorneys, public defenders Leif Jeffers and Robert Scott.

The deal was reached at the last minute, as he was scheduled to be tried on the charge of first-degree murder beginning Jan. 23.

On Sept. 6, 2016, at the request of 8th District Attorney General Jared Effler, TBI Special Agents, with the assistance of the Tazewell Police Department, New Tazewell Police Department, Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Children’s Service, began investigating allegations of abuse involving Tindall-Scott. On that day, Det. Jeremy Myers and officers with the Tazewell Police Department were first to arrive at an apartment in the 400 block of Tom Ball Road, where they found her unresponsive.

She died on Sept. 9 at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.

On Dec. 14, the Claiborne County Grand Jury returned an indictment charging Maples with first-degree murder on Dec. 14, 2016. Maples was held in the Claiborne County Jail on a $1,000,000 bond.

According to a statement by Effler entered into court Monday, Maples presented at least two differing accounts of what happened to Tindall-Scott while she was in his care that day, both involving alleged falls. The autopsy report, however, stated that she died of “blunt force trauma to the head,” Effler said. There were large, complex skull fractures and extensive bleeding of the brain, he said.

The little girl’s mother, Brandy Tindall, presented a victim impact statement to the court. Through tears, she told Sexton that Maci “loved to play… loved to snuggle.” She added, “I know I have to keep going… but I love her so much and miss her.”

On that tragic day, she said, “all of our worlds came crashing down.”

Sexton sentenced Maples to 55 years at 100 percent. He is to serve a short time in the Claiborne County Jail before being remanded into state custody.

“This is the hardest case I’ve had in my career,” stated Myers after the hearing.

“We did not enter into this lightly,” Effler said. “We received approval from Maci’s family and the investigating agencies.”