An attempted first-degree murder charge filed against an Oak Ridge man who allegedly admitted to shooting a woman over a grudge related to having to surrender a puppy has been sent to the grand jury, according to Anderson County court records.
William Antwon Molette, 44, had a preliminary hearing in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge on Tuesday, February 13.
Besides attempted first-degree murder, two other charges filed against Molette were bound over to the grand jury: armed dangerous felonies and violation of the sex offender registry.
One charge of armed dangerous felonies was dismissed.
The alleged shooting occurred on Friday, September 29, on Walsh Lane in Oak Ridge. The victim, Kathy Griffin, had life-threatening injuries and had to be airlifted to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, according to affidavits filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court on September 30. Medical personnel found five injuries around Griffin’s torso that appeared to have been caused by high-velocity projectiles, Oak Ridge Police Department Detective A. Marvell Moore said in the affidavits.
Molette tried to incapacitate or kill Griffin by pointing a small, black .380 caliber Ruger LCP at her and firing numerous times, until the magazine was empty, “with the sole intent of killing the victim (Griffin),” according to the affidavits.
After the shooting, Moore said in the September affidavits, Molette was observed rapidly leaving the Walsh Lane driveway in a black sedan. The car accelerated away from the home and began traveling east on West Outer Drive, Moore said.
Officers immediately stopped the fleeing vehicle, a black Ford Taurus registered in Alabama, at the intersection of West Outer Drive and West Wadsworth Circle, Moore said. Molette was driving the car, according to the affidavits, and officers found a .38 caliber revolver in the glove compartment in front of the passenger’s seat.
“Post Miranda, the defendant (Molette) confessed to committing the violent act,” Moore said in the affidavits. “The defendant stated the incident originated over him having to surrender his puppy. He said the victim insisted that he give the puppy up after he had grown attached to it. After relinquishing custody of the puppy, he began to hold a grudge toward the victim.
“On this day, the defendant advised he had drank (alcohol) in excess, which affected his mood. The victim asked the defendant what was wrong, and he had a drastic change in behavior. The defendant stated, ‘I unloaded on her with a little .380. If I could have found the other gun, I would have shot her with it. I couldn’t find it.’
“Said handgun was found at the scene,” Moore said.
Molette is a convicted felon and on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry, Moore said. Besides attempted first-degree murder, Molette was charged after the shooting with two counts of possessing a firearm while committing a dangerous felony, according to the Oak Ridge Police Department.
Molette has been jailed at the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton since September 30. His bond has been set at $175,000.
The charge of violating the sex offender registry stems from a separate incident that was also on September 29, the night of the shooting. An affidavit filed by Oak Ridge Police Department Detective Kevin Craig said Molette and Griffin, his girlfriend, attended the Oak Ridge High School football game at Blankenship Field. Griffin told detectives she was at the game that night with Molette, and Molette was captured on video at the football field that night, Craig said.
But Molette had registered with the Oak Ridge Police Department as a violent sex offender in July, according to the affidavits. That registration form included, among other requirements, that Molette would not be on the premises of a public athletic field available for public use when the offender has reason to believe children under 18 might be present, the affidavits said.
If Molette is indicted on any of the three charges sent to the grand jury, his case would move from Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge to Anderson County Criminal Court in Clinton.
During a preliminary hearing, a judge can hear from witnesses, victims, and police officers, and determine whether there is probable cause to bind over, or send charges to, a grand jury for its consideration. There is no timeline for when the Anderson County Grand Jury, which typically meets once a month, might hear the charges against Molette.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
See previous story here.
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