Ex-Tennessee governor tied to contract hit on Hoffa pal, federal witness

Ex-Tennessee governor tied to contract hit on Hoffa pal, federal witness


A former Tennessee governor’s administration helped pay a murder contract for a 1979 hit on a federal witness who was buddies with union boss Jimmy Hoffa, authorities said.

The white contract killer wore a wig, fake beard and was in blackface when he gunned down Chattanooga businessman Samuel Pettyjohn, a cooperating witness in a corruption scandal that brought down the now-dead governor, Hamilton County prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Pettyjohn had cash and jewelry worth $100,000 on him when was killed on Feb. 1, 1979 inside a Beverage Mart he owned, authorities said in a news release.

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“Essentially, Mr. Pettyjohn cooperated with authorities and knew too much about what was going on locally, as well as the state level, and individuals didn’t like that and so individuals hired someone to murder him,” Hamilton District Attorney Neal Pinkston said.

“Here we are some 42 years later.”

Ex-Gov. Ray Blanton was under investigation at the time of the murder for allegedly handing

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