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James Coclough

A retired Air Force Sargent is shot during a home burglary in Knoxville, TN

  • Last updated: April 5, 2023
  • Knoxville, TN
  • June 30, 1997

Overview of James Coclough

James Douglas MacArthur Coclough was a beloved husband, father, sibling, son and friend to many.

James was a Vietnam War veteran who retired from the U.S. Air Force as a Sergeant after more than 22 years of service. He was a beloved husband and father to five children, two sons and three daughters when his life was senselessly taken from him.

James was shot during a home burglary in 1997.

On the evening of June 30, 1997 around 11:10 pm, James and his wife, Ruby, were watching TV in their Knoxville, TN home when two unidentified men broke into their home, presumably with the intent to rob them. The men forced James to lie on the floor before shooting him several times and assaulting his wife. Authorities determined that the motive for the crime was likely robbery, though they were unable to determine whether anything had been stolen from the home. James succumbed to his injuries in a local hospital around a week later, on July 6, 1997.

Where the case stands today.

James’ case has gone unsolved for more than 25 years. There are very few details available regarding his case, as law enforcement have held the case close to preserve any hopes of a conviction. Due to the lack of incoming information or leads, James' case has gone cold and is no longer being actively investigated.

If you have any information regarding James' murder, please contact the Knoxville Police Department's Violent Crimes Unit at (865) 215-7317 or send your tip in an email to unsolvedmurder@knoxvilletn.gov. There is a $2,500 reward being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individuals responsible for his murder.


  1. Date of Death:June 30, 1997
  2. Birthday:February 11, 1942
  3. Age at Incident:55
  4. Race:Unknown
  5. Gender:Male

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