Melissa Atkin and Larry Reynolds from Tenessee had been together for approximately a decade and had had a son together in 2001 when cracks began to appear in their relationship.
In 2006, Reynolds packed his bags and moved out, which triggered a brutal custody battle for their 5-year-old son, Lucas. Atkin retained custody of the child while court proceedings continued.
The relationship between the pair became further strained when Reynolds argued about payment of child maintenance and demanded that no one could come between him and his son.
On December 16, 2007, Melissa Atkin’s parents found her body lying face down in her home. She was naked from the waist down, and her hands were tied behind her back with black plastic ties. The 36-year-old had been shot three times in the head.
Larry Reynolds told his current girlfriend what he’d done
Reynold’s girlfriend at the time, Eve Barger, told investigators that she found her boyfriend sobbing on the morning of December 16. When she asked him what was wrong, he said he’d just killed Melissa.
Barger urged Reynolds to turn himself in, but he refused, saying, “I can’t do that.” Reynolds would later repeatedly talk of turning himself in “after Christmas.”
Barger agreed to help the sheriff’s detectives by recording her conversations with the murderer. On one of the telephone calls to Reynolds, he could be heard expressing fear that he would never see his sons again.
In four taped conversations, Reynolds never directly admitted to the murder, but he did discuss aspects of the case, which included stating he had wiped fingerprints from the murder weapon.
On the witness stand, Barger told how Reynolds hated Atkin and just couldn’t stand her any longer. Prosecutors reasoned that Reynolds, on realizing he was going lose custody of Lucas, went into a rage and murdered Atkin.
Reynolds’s defense lawyer argued that Barger was an unreliable witness and that there was no physical evidence to link his client to the crime. The jury ignored his pleas and found him guilty.
Larry Scott Reynolds was convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to a lifetime in prison. In 2013, he had an appeal denied and was ordered to serve his full sentence.
More from investigation discovery
Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on ID
Last week on ID, the tragic case of the Hargon family from Mississippi was profiled. This family had already suffered heartbreak in 1994 when the patriarch of the family was killed in a robbery. Over ten years later, son Michael along with his wife and young son, were brutally murdered by their cousin over an argument regarding inheritance.
Also on ID, the quiet Texan street of Hollow Oak Drive was traumatized by two murders in the space of a few months. They were carried out by teenager, Christain Olsen, with at least one murder done at the behest of his older girlfriend, 39-year-old Kelly Sifuentez.
Murder On The Line airs Thursday at 8/7c on Investigation Discovery.