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Police tracked Tenn. man using cell phone signals

Knoxville News-Sentinel

WEST KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — An out-of-town murder suspect's cell phone signals led authorities to his West Knoxville hotel room, from which he jumped to his death Saturday night.

Billy Troope, 50, was wanted by authorities for the beating and strangulation death of his ex-girlfriend, Wendy Sue McKinney, 46, who was found dead Wednesday in a hotel room in Bellevue, Tenn., according to Nashville police.

According to Nashville police, Troope and McKinney met Monday night at a Bellevue restaurant and then checked into the Hampton Inn at 7:46 p.m. Just before midnight, Troope left the hotel but returned to the parking lot overnight before leaving again, a release said. He returned at approximately 7:40 a.m. Tuesday to retrieve his belongings, leaving the "do not disturb" sign on the door.

KPD officers began tracking Troope in West Knoxville early Saturday evening.

"His cell phone started pinging around West Town Mall at about 6 p.m.," Knoxville Police Department Lt. Mark Pressley said. "Two of our guys canvassed the area and found his car at the Ramada across the street at the corner of Kingston Pike and Montvue Road."

Officers contacted Nashville authorities and the U.S. Marshals Service, then closed in on the motel with a fugitive warrant around 10:30 p.m., police said.

"They went to enter his room and the suspect jumped up, ran out and dived off the balcony to the pavement," Pressley said.

An ambulance carried Troope to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where doctors pronounced him dead.

"He committed suicide and cheated the state out of prosecuting him," Pressley said.

Troope, who was a golf caddie by profession, according to Metro Nashville, was under an order of protection to stay away from McKinney, according to Nashville police.

In August, Troope was arrested by Dickson County authorities for domestic violence against McKinney.

Copyright 2009 Knoxville News-Sentinel Co.

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