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Breaking: Hartsville man sentenced in Lebanon murder case

Jake Old • Sep 23, 2016 at 2:28 PM

A Hartsville man was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the 2015 murder of Brian Petroff in Lebanon. 

Michael Wayne York, 32, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Wilson County criminal court Friday.

Assistant District Attorney Justin Harris read a statement of facts during the hearing that outlined the course of events and evidence the state had against York.

In the early morning hours of Feb. 7, 2015, Petroff was found dead at the intersection of Winter Drive and McCowan Drive. He had two gunshot wounds to the head.

While investigating the scene, Lebanon police discovered Petroff’s wallet had been taken. They also learned that Petroff worked at Steve and Sons, and he had gotten off work at about midnight, which was about an hour before the body was discovered.

Multiple coworkers of Petroff’s told police that he left work with York.

Detectives spoke to Petroff’s family members, who told them that he had an ATM card for Wilson Bank & Trust, which led detectives to check his transaction history.

Multiple charges were placed on the victim’s debit card after the time of death. Video footage was obtained from several places where the card was used, including a gas station and Walmart in Lebanon.

York was clearly seen using and attempting to use the debit card of the victim. One of the transactions happened within 10 minutes of Petroff’s death.

Police found the address of a home in Macon County where York was staying. Members of the Lebanon Police Department and Macon County Sheriff’s Office arrested York there Feb. 8. 

At the home, law enforcement personnel found blood on York’s shoes, which were sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for further testing. The blood was found to be Petroff’s.

Petroff’s driver’s license was found in the pocket of blue jeans owned by York.

After the arrest, detectives interviewed York at the Lebanon Police Department headquarters.  

Initially, York told police that he received the Petroff’s debit card from another person, but after being confronted with the evidence against him, he admitted to the shooting and to using the debit card.

York told police the shooting was in self-defense. According to Harris, the state would have disputed the claim if the case went to trial, due to discrepancies with physical evidence from the crime scene and York’s version of events.

At the end of the interview, York told police where to find the gun he used to shoot Petroff. After being analyzed by the TBI, the gun was found to be the one used to kill Petroff.  

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