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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Press Release (Stratton)









Prepared By:

Inv. Mike Barron


August 2, 2011





Murder Investigation & Arrest

Approved By:

Sgt. Kevin Peters




     On July 30, 2011, Investigators with the Johnson City Police Department began a murder investigation after a white male, later identified as a Gary A. Couch, 6/11/86 of 3765 Stone Dam Road, Chuckey, Tennessee was found in the roadway on Quarry Road having been shot multiple times. Mr. Couch was pronounced dead at the scene. The subsequent investigation revealed several possible witnesses and leads in the case. From this investigation, witness statements and evidence recovered established a probable suspect in the case.


     On August 2, 2011, after additional interviews and an execution of a search warrant at the suspect’s residence, Investigators made an arrest in the July 30, 2011 shooting of Gary A. Couch. Arrested was Justin A. Stratton (aka “Puff”), w/m, 12/03/1980 of 1500 Bell Ridge Road, Apartment # 16, Johnson City, Tennessee and charged him with one count of First Degree Murder and one count of Especially Aggravated Robbery. The Robbery charge stemmed from Stratton having set the victim up to rob him at the location that his body was found and the taking of his wallet and other items from him.


     Justin A. Stratton was also served with an additional warrant charging him in connection with the July 30, 2011, burglary and theft of two autos from Reliable Motors located at 528 W. Market Street, Johnson City, Tennessee. These charges are in connection with the burglary to the business where two sets of car keys and a camera were stolen from the building. The two sets of keys belonged to 2 vehicles that were stolen, a black 1994 Mercedes-Benz S500 and a white 2002 Ford Expedition. As a result of the parallel investigation into these two incidents, Investigators determined that the stolen white 2002 Ford Expedition was involved in the shooting and murder of Gary A. Couch and is being held as evidence. Stratton was charged with one count of Burglary, two counts of Theft of Property over $1,000.00 and one count of Theft of Property under $500.00.


     Justin Stratton was served with these warrants on the above listed charges at the Washington County Detention Center where he is being held on unrelated charges. Stratton is being held in lieu of an $181,000.00 bond on these charges. Stratton will be arraigned on these charges on August 3, 2011, in the General Sessions Court of Washington County, Tennessee.




Sgt. Kevin Peters

Johnson City Police Department

Criminal Investigation Unit

601 E. Main Street

Johnson City, TN  37601

Office: (423) 434-6166

Desk: (423) 434-6107


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