Coffee

‘Foul play or suicide’ not suspected in death of Coffee County Mayor Judd Matheny

Coffee County Mayor Judd Matheny poses with dog.

Coffee County Mayor Judd Matheny poses with dog.

Police saw no violent evidence involving the death of Coffee County Mayor Judd Matheny, a prosecutor said.

“There was no traumatic inquires,” District Attorney General Craig Northcott said. “There’s not a reason to believe foul play or suicide.”

Tullahoma police found Matheny dead inside a vehicle, in the driveway at his 1909 E. Lincoln Street home after responding to a 911 call shortly after noon on Tuesday. He had served as Coffee County mayor since 2022 and is a former state representative.

Matheny was 53. The cause of death will await the results of an autopsy and subsequent report, which typically takes three to four months to be completed, said Northcott, who oversees prosecution of cases for Tennessee’s 14th Judicial District.

Northcott urges people to respect the privacy of Matheny’s family by not speculating about the cause of death.

“Judd was a friend of mine,” Northcott said. “Certainly it’s a loss I feel personally, and he will be missed.”

Craig NorthcottCraig Northcott

Craig Northcott

Death of mayor: Tennessee authorities investigating death of Coffee County Mayor Judd Matheny

Northcott also said he’s extending prayers to Matheny’s family, friends and anyone grieving the mayor’s death personally.

The district attorney general asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to assist the Tullahoma Police Department with the case.

Coffee County Commissioner will oversee mayoral duties

Coffee County Commissioner Dennis Hunt said in a statement emailed Wednesday to media that he will oversee the mayor’s responsibilities after the unexpected death of Matheny.

The commissioners during a September 2023 meeting elected Matheny to be their chairman and Hunt as chairman pro tempore, Hunt said.

Per state law, a county commission chairman pro tempore would assume the duties of mayor in the mayor’s absence.

“Pursuant to TCA (Tennessee Code Annotated ) 5-5-103(i)(1), in the event of an extended absence of a county mayor, the chairman pro tempore shall assume the position of and execute the duties assigned to the county mayor,” Hunt said. “This interim transition will be seamless without interruption of services, commitments or operations of Coffee County Government. Heartfelt condolences are extended to the entire Matheny family.”

Dennis HuntDennis Hunt

Dennis Hunt

The Coffee County Election Commission staff is researching timeline requirements for the next mayoral election, Hunt said.

“Most likely, the voters of Coffee County will be able to elect an individual to replace Mayor Matheny in this fall’s election process,” Hunt said.

Reach reporter Scott Broden with news tips or questions by emailing him at sbroden@dnj.com. To support his work with The Daily News Journal, sign up for a digital subscription.

This article originally appeared on Murfreesboro Daily News Journal: Coffee County mayor’s death not suspected of foul play, suicide


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