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Kimberly Rene Mangrum forced her stepchildren to help murder their mother, LeeAnn Mangrum

LeeAnn Mangrum and her family (1) (1)
LeeAnn Mangrum with her young family before her marriage broke down, which led to her murder. Pic credit: Family photo

In 2002, LeeAnn Mangrum was brutally beaten at her mobile home and was drowned to death in a nearby Creek in Tennessee. Her killers were her ex-husband’s new wife, Kimberly Mangrum, and her two children, 15-year-old Terry Jr, and her 11-year-old daughter.

The children would later testify that Kimberly Mangrum woke them up in the early hours of September 8, 2002, and that they drove to LeeAnn Mangrum’s mobile home. There was a confrontation that ended when Kimberly struck LeeAnn with a baseball bat knocking her unconscious.

They then drove to a river where Kimberly forced her stepson to hold LeeAnn’s head under the water with his foot until she drowned. The body was discovered later that day by a fisherman.

Prosecutors argued that Kimberly was jealous of the relationship between LeeAnn and her two children, which was her motive for the murder.

The children had previously been living with LeeAnn Mangrum. Still, Kimberly Mangrum allegedly persuaded her new husband, Terry Mangrum Sr, to bring a court case against his ex-wife and win custody of the two children.

The children said they were terrified of stepmother Kimberly Mangrum

Terry Jr testified against his stepmother accusing her of having a history of violence and of previously making threats against him and his mother. He spoke of being terrified by his stepmother.

Kimberly’s defense lawyers argued that Terry Jr was not as afraid of a stepmother as he made out, pointing to the fact that he regularly stole pain medication from Kimberly.

The defense also argued that the relationship between LeeAnn and her children was quite acrimonious. They suggested that it was likely that the children had gone to their mother’s home intending to rob her but that “things got out of control,” resulting in her death.

Kimberly’s DNA was discovered on a cigarette at the scene of the crime; however, the defense lawyers argued that this was the only solid piece of evidence linking her to the murder.

Mangrum was charged with aggravated burglary,  aggravated kidnapping, first-degree premeditated murder, felony murder, and four counts of criminal conspiracy. She was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder and was given a further 25 years for the additional crimes.

Terry Mangrum Jr. was also charged with murder for his role in his mother’s killing. He was 17 years old at the time of his trial and was transferred from juvenile court to be tried as an adult.

More from Southern Gothic

Follow the links to read about more crimes profiled in the southern states on Southern Gothic.

On February 18, 2015, Cindy Reese shot dead her husband Michael in their Alabama home and then tried to stage the scene, so it looked like a home invasion. Jeffrey Brown was a preacher who was having an affair with Cindy, and he helped her dispose of the murder weapon. The police think they killed Michael Resse so they could be together.

Memphis police officer Chancey Jones was having an affair with single mom Phyllis Malone. When she told him she was pregnant and threatened to inform his wife, a bitter argument ensued. Jones shot her three times at point-blank range and then fled the scene.

Southern Gothic airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

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