Former police officer found guilty in brutal beating death of Lawrenceburg man

Crystal Gregoire (Courtesy: Lawrence County Sheriff's Department)

LAWRENCEBURG, Tenn. (WKRN) – A jury found a former Louisiana police officer guilty of first-degree murder in the 2015 beating death of a Lawrence County man.

Jurors returned the guilty verdict Friday against Crystal Gregoire, 37, for killing 69-year-old Sam John Passarella, according to Lawrenceburg police.

Passarella’s badly beaten body was found inside his Crockett Senior Housing apartment on Old Florence Road on May 19, 2015.

Gregoire was indicted on murder, tampering with evidence and theft charges in February 2016 after evidence was found buried behind the home she lived in at the time of Passarella’s death.

The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department said Gregoire, who it identified as a former Louisiana police officer, beat Passarella to death with a claw hammer.

Gregoire pled guilty to the charge of tampering with evidence. Jurors found her not guilty on one count of theft and felony murder but found her guilty as charged for first-degree murder.

The conviction carries an automatic life sentence.

Gregoire was returned to the custody of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department.