Shooting victim knew killer; relative says

Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Penny Coyle

The Verona Caney Road woman found shot to death in a car Monday night probably knew her killer, according to her stepdaughter.

"I just think it has to be somebody she knew... somebody she trusted... or she wouldn't have pulled over," said Robin Coyle, 24, stepdaughter of Penny Blackwell Coyle, 51.

Funeral services for Penny Coyle were set for 2 p.m. Saturday in the London Funeral Home Chapel with burial to follow in Short Cemetery. Visitation was set at London Funeral Home on Friday from 4-8 p.m. and on Saturday until the hour of the funeral.

Kristin Helm, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said Coyle was found in the driver's seat of the car. One of Coyle's friends said she'd been driving a gold-colored, four-door Buick that was 11-12 years old.

Coyle was found in a car parked along Old Rock Crusher Road. It was apparently on the north side since jurisdiction for the case is with the Sheriff's Department and not the city. Helm said, "The car will be taken to the TBI crime lab for processing for any forensic evidence."

The body was taken to Nashville for an autopsy.

"We just want for whoever did this to be brought to justice," Robin Coyle said. "We want answers.

"I don't know why this happened," she said. "Anybody who knew her loved her. She was a good person."

The woman is described by the Marshall County Sheriff's Department as five feet tall, weighing about 110 pounds. Sheriff Norman Dalton asked area residents with information about the woman's death to call Crime Stoppers at 359-4867.

"If you know anything," Robin Coyle said, "please call the police.

"They didn't have to kill her," she said. "She would have given anything for her life."

She and her stepmother spoke for the last time on the telephone when they told each other, "I love you."

Old Rock Crusher Road parallels CSX railroad tracks where it intersects with Rock Crusher Road. Marshall County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Owens said the car was about a quarter-mile from the intersection. That would put the location between the tracks and the north side of Old Rock Crusher Road near a pond west of Verona Caney Road where Old Rock Crusher Road ends in a T-intersection.

"When she got killed," she was on her way home," Robin Coyle said. "She called her mother about 30 minutes before -- saying she was on her way home.

"She'd have taken the back way," Robin Coyle said. "That's just Penny."

At about 7:30 p.m., Penny Coyle left The Finish Line, a business on Nashville Highway, Robing Coyle said. "She left alone."

Without additional information, that leaves about three hours that would be unaccounted for.

Coyle was the daughter of Judy Blackwell and the late Roy L. Blackwell who died in July last. She had a sister, Tracy, and five brothers, Timmy, Tommy, Mikey, Donnie, and Pete.

She and Joe Coyle of Verona Caney Road were divorced nine years ago, he said Tuesday morning when he refused to discredit the woman.

"She was a good person," Joe Coyle said. "She just had problems."

The former couple's residences were on Verona Caney Road and close to each other. They talked "on a day to day basis," he said. "My daughter is tore all to pieces.

"Nobody deserves that," Joe Coyle said of how is former wife died. "But life ain't fair."

Penny Coyle "cleaned houses," he said.

She'd been a student at the Belfast School and was living with her mother on Verona Road.

"If I could have done something for her... I've been trying for a long time," Joe Coyle said. "She was a good-hearted person. She had problems, her good side out weighed her other side."

The sheriff's department was actively investigating the murder Tuesday afternoon.