On Sunday the 9th of June, 2014, a man was chatting with his neighbour, 37-year-old Gregory Hale, when he asked him something extremely disturbing. Hale had asked his neighbour if he could help him dispose of a body. The neighbour first of all thought that Hale was joking around, but it quickly became apparent that this was no joke when he asked if he could borrow his digger. The neighbour “flat refused” and subsequently called police.
Deputies arrived at the home, which was located in a small rural community just outside Manchester, Tennessee. What they found inside would disturb even the most seasoned deputy. In two separate buckets, they found the dismembered remains of a woman. In a burn pile, they found a burned torso.
The body was identified as 36-year-old Lisa Marie Hyder.
In the living room, they found Hale asleep on a couch. The home was owned by his retirement-aged parents, who were described by the sheriff as “good people.” Hale was arrested at the scene and charged with premeditated first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse. He was held in jail on $1.5 million bond.
Hale made no denials about what he had done. In fact, he confessed in gruesome detail. He said that he beheaded Lisa, chopped off her hands and then placed her body parts in a plastic bucket. He then cut off her feet and other body parts and placed them in another plastic bucket. He admitted that he had cannibalized parts of Lisa’s body.1 In a neighbour’s garden, investigators found Lisa’s heart; Hale said he had thrown it away.
He went on to explain that on the 10th of June, he had met Lisa in a local liquor store. That afternoon, Lisa had called up her ex-husband, Charles, and asked if he could come to Coffee County to collect her from a liquor store. Charles informed Lisa that he was in Huntsville, Alabama, but said that when he got home at around 4:30PM, he would come and collect her. However, when Charles called Lisa up, her phone was dead and it went straight to voicemail.
As news of the grisly murder swept across the media, Charles felt a tremendous deal of grief, telling the media: “I still blame myself because I didn’t go get her, but I was down in Huntsville unloaded my truck. I wish I could have been there a little bit faster, usually I rescue her every time something goes wrong.”
Lisa and Charles had been married for six years but they divorced around a year earlier. Unfortunately, Lisa had a number of her own demons. She had always struggled with alcohol abuse, and she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, but refused to get treatment. Doctors estimated that she only had around six months to live. Lisa was also a mother of six, and she absolutely doted on her children.
Her father, Billy Poore, said that they were wanting Hale to get the death penalty if convicted of the murder.
Nobody deserves to be killed and butchered the way my daughter was. There’s nothing left of her. We’re going to have to cremate her.Billy.
With Hale behind bars, many in the community would scramble to try and uncover who he was, and whether there were any warning signs. His Facebook contained a number of disturbing posts, including him posing with homemade masks and large knives.
On the 10th of April, he questioned whether a vegetarian would taste like soy meat to a cannibal and posted a photograph of the serial killer, Richard Ramirez, with the caption: “Wish I could have met u.”2 He also posted that he “hugs the people I hate so I know how big to dig the hole in my backyard.”3
Hale had worked for a while at a meat plant, and colleagues noted his behaviour as “odd.” They said that he often took home bones, blood, and eyeballs of the slaughtered animals.4 Hale was fired from the job after he was found carrying out a “ritual” with animal parts.
He had a domestic violence charge from November of 2001, and charges of simple possession, driving on a revoked or suspended license, possession of drug paraphernalia, and several arrests for violation of probation and failure to appear in court.5
In 2015, Gregory Hale appeared in court where he pleaded guilty to the murder of Lisa Marie Hyder. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. District Attorney Craig Northcott said that Hale had disturbing fantasies involving killing and cannibalism.
“He definitely has a fascination with the occult, and I do believe he considers himself a Satan worshipper. There’s all kinds of evidence of that gathered at his residence and on his computer. He said he fantasized about killing someone for a long time and saw this as an opportunity to fulfil that fantasy. He said he’d always fantasized about eating human flesh.”District Attorney Craig Northcott.
After the sentence was handed down, Lisa’s ex-husband, Charles, said that he had forgiven Hale for what he had done.
The children are too young to understand what has happened so I just told them mama got sick and has gone to live with God.Charles.
Lisa’s father, Billy, wasn’t so forgiving.
He is an animal and needs to be put away and never get out. I cannot forgive him.6Billy.
- Associated Press, 10 June, 2014 – “Tenn. Man Dismembered Woman, Ate Body”
- CBS – 11 WJHL, 9 June, 2014 – “Man Killed, Dismembered, Cannibalized Woman in Tenn. Home”
- Hartford Examiner, 11 June, 2014 – “Lisa Hyder, Mother of 6 Killed”
- Charleston Examiner, 13 June, 2104 – “Meat Plant Worker Murdered, Ate Woman’s Remains”
- Chattanooga Times Free Press, 11 June, 2014 – “Cannibalism Killing Detailed”
- The Sunday Mail, 17 January, 2015 – “Cannibal Devil Worshiper Jailed for Life”