Niles 2


A Dickson man accused of killing a couple and setting their home on fire nearly five years ago went on trial last week.

Kenneth Ray Niles, 42, is charged with killing John Christopher Goldtrap, 27, and Goldtrap’s girlfriend, 23-year-old Lisa Wade Mackenzie McDonald, in April 2015.

The DIckson County Circuit Court trial began last Thursday after an eight-day jury selection process and was expected to continue into next week. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

A grand jury originally indicted Niles in 2015. The grand jury for the January 2020 term issued a superseding indictment.

Niles was a cousin-by-marriage to Goldtrap, according to a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation news release. 

The victims’ bodies were found when authorities responded to a fire at their home, a duplex unit on McFarlane Lane, the TBI said.

Autopsy results revealed both victims were shot in the head, the TBI said. Accelerants were used in setting the home ablaze, the agency said.

Niles faces robbery, burglary and arson charges in addition to the two murder counts. According to the superseding indictment, Niles is accused of stealing guns and ammunition from Goldtrap.

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