‘Food Network Star’ killer won’t face death penalty in NC teen’s slaying

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – The Buncombe County District Attorney said that they will not be seeking the death penalty against Robert Jason Owens in the murder of Zebb Quinn.


Quinn, 18, disappeared in January of 2000 in the city of Asheville. Quinn’s car was found abandoned just two weeks later.

Owens was arrested in March 2015 for the murders of Cristie and JT Codd, and their unborn child. Cristie Codd appeared on ‘Food Network Star.’

Owens admitted to investigators that he accidentally ran over both Cristie and JT when they were assisting him with his truck. Owens then admitted to dismembering and burning the couple and to pawning off their possessions to make it look like a robbery.

He pleaded guilty in April to three counts of second-degree murder and two counts of dismembering bodies.

Owens had been listed as a person of interest in the Zebb Quinn case, as police state he was the last person to see Quinn. Owens has now been indicted for his murder.


During the plea hearing in the Codd case, Owens’ attorney Victoria Jayne stated that doctors stated Owens had PTSD from being labeled a suspect in the Quinn case. Jayne stated it was that PTSD that led Owens to hide his accidental crime, instead of reporting it to police.

Jayne spoke to WSPA by phone on Tuesday, stating that she was “shocked and disappointed to hear that Asheville Police have charged Jason Owens.”

“Throughout our representation in the Codd case, [Owens] wanted to make it very clear that he wanted to talk about what happened to Zebb Quinn, that he had nothing to do with his death,” said Jayne.

Jayne also states that Owens gave a statement to police about what happened to Quinn and that her law firm corroborated it and that they have no reason to suspect that he wasn’t completely truthful.

Jayne plans to represent Owens in this case.

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