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Man on porch charged after 6 slain in Tenn., Ala.

FAYETTEVILLE, TN - AP - Six people believed to be from one family were slain in a two-state spree and authorities charged a man who was sitting on the porch when authorities arrived at one home in the killings.

Five people were found dead in two neighboring rural homes near Fayetteville in southern Tennessee Saturday, and a sixth body was discovered at a business about 30 miles away in Huntsville, Ala., authorities said.

Jacob Shaffer, 30, of Fayetteville was charged late Saturday with homicide. He was jailed without bond in Lincoln County, which borders Alabama.

Investigators said the victims were four adults and two juveniles, but their names and ages were not being released until they are identified and next of kin are notified.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kristin Helm said in an e-mail that Shaffer was charged with five counts of homicide for the Tennessee deaths and faced an additional count in Alabama.

"Most of the victims are suspected to be related. The motive of the killings is domestic," Helm said. She did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking more details.

Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder said at a news conference that his department is investigating three crime scenes, though he did not elaborate. He did not release the victims' names and would not confirm the causes of death in what he called "horrendous" killings and "one of the worst crimes Lincoln County has seen."

Helm said the Tennessee victims were killed Friday night or early Saturday. Shaffer was sitting on the porch of one of the Fayetteville houses when authorities first arrived Saturday.

Huntsville police Sgt. Mickey Allen, who works for the city's major crimes unit, said that based on the suspect's information, police found a body at Hall Cultured Marble Granite on Saturday morning. Authorities have not said how the slayings in the two communities are linked.

While authorities have not released the victims' ages, Karon Weatherman, who lives about a half-mile away from the Tennessee homes, said she saw children as young as 4 and 5 running back and forth between the houses across the road from each other.


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