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by Sharon Rondeau

District Attorney General Jared Effler is chief prosecutor for Tennessee’s Eighth Judicial District comprising Campbell, Union, Claiborne, Fentress and and Scott Counties

(Dec. 29, 2015) — On November 25, The Post & Email first reported on the case of State of Tennessee v. Kevin Waggoner, case #4826, which is not currently found in publicly-listed cases online.

On May 1, 2014, with the last digit in the year changed by hand on the indictment, the Union County, TN grand jury found probable cause to indict Waggoner for Second Degree Murder in the death of Michael Andrew Woodby, his neighbor of three years in the small town of Luttrell.  The prosecution had asked for a charge of premeditated murder.

The grand jury foreman serving on that day appears to have been an individual with the last name of “Muncey” who indicated that he or she was a “sub for Amber Hill.”

Waggoner told The Post & Email that he is not sure how the temporary foreman was chosen or appointed.  In Tennessee, criminal court judges hand-pick the grand jury foreman, who sometimes serves for decades, from outside of the grand jury “venire,” to which the grand jury pool is referred in the U.S. Supreme Court case opinions of Hobby v. United States and Rose v. Mitchell.

An 1883 Tennessee Supreme Court case, Tennessee v. John Gouge, stated that the grand jury foreman at that time was chosen from the group of 13 grand jurors comprising “the venire.”  The Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference supports that definition of a grand jury, yet judges continue to personally select the foreman “from wherever they choose.”

Waggoner’s case went through a “special grand jury” following the first trial which resulted in a hung trial jury.

Woodby and his wife Theresa were living across the road from the Waggoners for approximately three years when trouble arose.  For the first nine months, according to Waggoner, there were no issues between the two families.  After Waggoner successfully passed all state and federal FBI background checks, he opened a gun store on his property called “The Gun Shack.”  Waggoner reported that not long afterward, Michael Woodby asked to buy a gun, which Waggoner had to refuse based on Woodby’s history of domestic violence.

Enmity and aggression then developed which was openly displayed, captured on home video cameras by both the Waggoners and the Woodbys. Numerous police reports and two requests for protective orders filed by the Woodbys failed to diffuse the growing tension, exhibited by obscenities and clear threats made by Michael Woodby toward Waggoner’s son, Kolton.

A number of videos of Michael and Theresa Woodby’s behavior prior to Michael’s death have been posted on YouTube.  Waggoner contacted several press outlets, including the Knoxville News Sentinel, with an open letter describing the volatile situation prior to September 16, 2013, when Waggoner fatally shot Michael Woodby while taking a walk with Kolton.

Waggoner claims that Woodby was the aggressor, coming after Kolton with a fence railing and striking him without provocation.  Waggoner said he put himself between Woodby and his son, then shot Woodby.

Waggoner told The Post & Email that both he and Kolton were armed that evening because bears were known to have been sighted in the area.

Following the incident, Waggoner voluntarily agreed to answer more questions for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), who he reported questioned him for five minutes before reading him his Miranda rights.  He also told The Post & Email that the interview was not recorded.

After he was first charged, Waggoner was able to retain private defense counsel who withdrew from the case after Waggoner’s life savings were exhausted.  An August 2015 trial resulted in a “hung” jury.

“Ms. Woodby was already telling other people that I was no longer going to have this man as my attorney, so she knew the week before,” Waggoner told us.  “She said straight-out that one of the ADAs called her and told her that he was no longer going to be my attorney.  She almost knew before I did.”

Waggoner said that the ADA had told the judge that Waggoner’s attorney planned to remove himself from the case.

An October 5 hearing resulted in the District Attorney General’s office’s decision to retry the case, and Waggoner’s case has been assigned to a public defender.

On December 2, The Post & Email submitted a Public Records request to the Eighth Judicial District chief prosecutor, currently Jared Effler, in Waggoner’s case.

On December 7, the request was denied.  A letter received by email and standard mail from Assistant District Attorney General Tyler K.L. Hurst stated two reasons for the denial:

As the investigation and prosecution of this matter is on-going, these documents are not public record.  In addition, from your listed address it appears that you are not a citizen of the State of Tennessee.  As the Tennessee Public Records Act authorizes requests from Tennessee residents only, your request is not covered by the Act.

Waggoner Public Records Request Response 12-07-15

We accepted Hurst’s offer to contact his office by telephone with questions but did not receive a response.  The TBI’s media representative also did not respond to our request for information on the case.

Waggoner has told The Post & Email that certain police reports subpoenaed by his former defense attorney were never released, nor has the audio from the preliminary hearing on September 27, 2013 been made available.  Knoxville News Sentinel reporter Jamie Satterfield was reportedly “tweeting” about the hearing as it progressed, but the article she wrote has apparently been removed from the web.  The same reporter once blocked The Post & Email from an online discussion of Tennessee judicial procedure and conduct and may have shown bias in her coverage of the federal case against Darren Wesley Huff in a tweet.  “I am the queen of crime writing,” Satterfield states on her Twitter profile.

Satterfield published her article on August 31, 2015, but the judgment rendered by the Criminal/Circuit Court for Union County, TN declaring the case “Dismissed/Nolle Prosequi” is dated August 24, 2015.  While Satterfield reported that the Waggoners left Indiana in “the mid-200os,” Waggoner told The Post & Email that his family moved from Indiana to Tennessee in 2009.

Satterfield appears to believe that Obama is the “coolest POTUS ever.”  A journalist is not expected to render personal opinions on political figures one way or another.

Waggoner told The Post & Email that neither Woodby’s toxicology report nor his criminal history were disclosed to the jury.  The toxicology report showed that at the time of his death, Woodby had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.109:  Michael Woodby Toxicology Report

On October 5, 2015, a hearing took place to determine whether or not the case would be retried resulting in a new trial having been scheduled for April 25, 2016.

In his own defense, Waggoner told us:

There’s a police report where one of the things the Woodbys continued to claim was that we stalked them and followed her to work every day.  There’s a police report here that states my son followed her to work for the last three days.  She took that information and went to court and tried to get a protective order against us with it.  I have my son’s time card that proves that he was at work and that it was absolutely impossible for him to have done what she says he did for two of those three days.

Waggoner’s statement contradicted reportage from Satterfield, who wrote on August 31, 2015 that “Waggoner family recordings confirmed they even followed widow Theresa Woodby when she went to work.”

Waggoner related further information on the worsening relationship between the two families:

They applied twice for a protective order under false premises.  We can prove that she’s lied on many multiple occasions.  We actually had in court their video; they were taking video of us as well, which is perfectly legal.  One of the protective orders says “every time” she lets her grandson out to play, I would go outside to the road and start shooting.  I don’t know about you, but if that happened every time, wouldn’t you have some proof of that?

We have a video from them – their video, with her taking it – where she and her husband are talking about going to the mailbox to try to cause issues with us.  The mailboxes were on the their side of the road.  We walked against traffic following traffic laws, which put us on their side of the road from time to time. Their front porch is approximately 40 yards off the road.  Their video clearly shows them talking about the fact that it is 6:00 at night.  “Let me know when they’re coming back, and I’ll check the mail again” is heard on the video.  “If they get close enough to me, I’m going to cut them.”

Waggoner said that that particular video was played in court, which he believes should have convinced the jury that the Woodbys meant his family harm.

Further, Waggoner told us:

The DA actually had a friend on the jury.  I can prove that they are friends on Facebook, and I’ve been told that this particular juror, who is an insurance agent, is the DA’s insurance agent.  When the juror was asked, “Do you know anybody in this courtroom?” his answer was, “I pretty-much know everyone in here.”  His wife works in the same building; she’s the Union County trustee.”

They did not allow family in the courtroom while the jury was being selected.  That’s already been to the U.S. Supreme Court in another case, and it was decided that that violated the First and Sixth Amendments.  When they selected the jury, they didn’t put the names in a bag or a box.  They put the names of prospective jurors right in front of the judge.

Waggoner also said that testimony from a former Indiana neighbor disallowed by the judge from being presented to the jury as evidence was heard and reported by local media.

A fundraising campaign was launched for Waggoner to hire a private attorney for his upcoming trial.

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  1. There was no toxicology report in the first trial, regardless of what Karen says. She is bias and tends to bend the truth.
    I would be glad to send my comments to the judge and prosecutor but there lies the rub. They were the biggest problem in the last trial. The judge denied almost everything that the defense tried to bring in. Witnesses. change of venue, taking the jury to the place where it happened so they could see how Woodby snuck up on the Waggoners, The judge denied Kolton his 5th amendment rights, and he wouldn’t allow the 911 call to come in or photos of Kolton showing a bruise the size of a soft ball and bruising down his left side. He is the problem because he was working with the prosecutor to make sure he won his case. Even the way he dismissed jurors was illegal. The lawyers told him he was breaking the law and he basicly said he didn’t care. He had lunch with the prosecutor during the trial and the prosecutor would be in the judges office for more than 30 minutes before defense was called in. Now tell me that is legal? There was so much corruption during the trial that there is no way to go to the judge or DA in this case. The prosecutor got caught hiding evidence and lying with no consequences because the judge was on their side the whole way. They need to lose their jobs for so much corruption.

    1. The type of actions you describe are exactly what The Post & Email has been exposing about the Tennessee “justice” system for seven years: rigged grand juries with hand-selected foremen; prosecutors working together with the judge to assure a conviction; and even forgery of documents. Are the people of Tennessee aware that their “judiciary” is like a Star Chamber?

  2. Well Karen, They did not arrest Kolton until 8 months after the incident. They did not arrest him at all the night of the incident. You need to get your facts straight and realize you are believing the lies everyone told on the stand. You most generally don’t show signs of swelling or brusing until a few days after being hit. Anybody knows that. They never showed the pictures of his bruises a month after he was hit by Micheal because the judge wouldn’t allow them. They kept out a lot of evidence and was even caught in court trying to hide evidence. So who is the liar here. You people need to leave the waggoners alone. This is what got all this started to begin with is the fact that the woodbys couldn’t leave them alone. They did not show the tox report in the first trial. The defense had to get TBI to admit that Woodby was drunk that night. So you must have been at a different trial than anybody else was.

  3. Hmmm,
    They take their mugshots when they arrest them.
    Not a year later.

    Not only that,the blown up photo of Kolton before the mug shot showed no injuries.
    The medcal examiner testified under oath that he had no bruises,lacerations or abrasions and was not in pain.

    The medial examiner had no dog in the fight.

    But,we know that you will claim he lied.

    Same as the forensics.You claim she lied also.
    He said in this article that they didn’t show the toxology report to the jury,yes they did. I was there and heard it.

    1. Keep in mind, again, that this is a very old article not updated with the latest information. When Mr. Waggoner was interviewed here, he spoke about the events up to that point, which was late December of last year: http://www.thepostemail.com/2015/12/29/waggoner-case-scheduled-for-retrial-april-25/

      For the last seven years, The Post & Email has focused on the flawed process in Tennessee whereby the grand jury foreman is hand-picked by the criminal court judge and reappointed for as long as the judge wants. This practice is unconstitutional on its face and brings into question every indictment, regardless of the circumstances. Why don’t more Tennesseans question this?

  4. If you had been at the trial then you would have seen how the judge and prosecutor kept evidence out that would have found Kevin innocent. When a drug, drunkard, child molester comes after your child in the dark, what are you going to do? No way was Woodby taking a walk or walking home. It shows him on the video going down the street with his flash light after the Waggoners and he was not using that club as a walking stick. It is sickening to think our court systems are so easily bought with drug money and with egos the size of Texas. Anyone could see that Woodby threatened for years to kill Kolton and threatened all the Waggoners for walking on a public street or for going to their mailbox or for carrying a legal fire arm all because Waggoner wouldn’t sell a firearm to a felon. Obviously they learned from experience how to manipulate the system and union county being so dumb let the Detroit liberals manipulate them. A decent prosecutor would have been able to tell who the aggressor was and put a stop to Woodbys bullying years before this happened if they weren’t being bought off somehow. I don’t like the Woodbys and I don’t live around them. Just think what you would think of a neighbor who cussed, threatened, and threw things at you and exposed himself to your wife and daughter! Would you like a drunken child molester for a neighbor? No and the Waggoners tried to stay away form the Woodbys but the Woodbys wouldn’t let anything rest. All they wanted to do was bully anyone they thought they could get away with and the police and DAs office should have arrested them many times for false reporting and for name calling. Those things are illegal. So why didn’t they? Ask yourself why they didn’t put a stop to Woodby bullying the Waggoners? There was no evidence at the trial for 2nd degree murder. Woodby went after the Waggoners in Sept 2013 to do much bodily harm while his wife waited on him at home to have sex. He was a lunatic plain and simple and anyone who says he was a nice guy has a few screws loose. I know for a fact he was a hostile mean person and the video at the gas station shows he just wanted to do harm to Kolton and it didn’t matter where it was. Kolton was just sitting in his truck when the bully Woodby tried to drag him out of it just because he didn’t like him. Anyone with any kind of sane mind would have just gone into the store and ignored Kolton, but no Woodby had to try and drag him out of the truck to harm him even then. He tried to attack Kolton on his own land and his dad stopped Woodby. He was a crazy drunken druggie, and apparently Union County courts have sympathy for druggies and bullies. Clean up your court system and vote these people out of office and arrest people in the court system for selling drugs. I witnessed the corruption first hand. They should all be fired and some good moral people voted in to clean up the county.
    Kevin Waggoner is innocent of any crime. He was simply defending his son and himself against someone who had told him for years he was going to kill his son first chance he got and that is exactly what Woodby went out to do that night in Sept and if there hadn’t been a hand picked jury for the prosecution then they would have found him NOT guilty! Shame on all of you in that court system for your part in this whole trump up trial! Your day will come unless you do what is right before it comes down on you. However long it takes and however many letters and meetings with higher ups it takes to bring you down it will be done. Your career could be over! So do what is right and make sure the Woodbys are behind bars for all the illegal dealings they are still doing and get Kevin out of jail for self defense and you know it was self defense. You just can’t admit that you all caused the incident by doing nothing in the first place. Shameful

  5. For one the mugshot of Kolton was taken a year after the incident. You need to get your facts straight before spouting untruths. Second of all there was research done before this article and the truth is out there. The prosecution pulled the same stuff in Kevins trial this time. Only everybody that testified on their side lied thru their teeth on the stand. Why don’t you leave the Waggoners alone and quit harassing them on social media. They have not once said anything to you. All Kennette is trying to do is live one day at a time and you and the Woodby Family is Bashing her everywhere. You all would not know the truth if it bit you.

    1. This article is very old, by news standards, and while I know the outcome of the trial, I was not a witness to it. Therefore, The Post & Email is not able to provide any elucidation on claims from either side.

  6. http://www.wbir.com/news/crime/union-county-man-found-guilty-of-murdering-his-neighbor/293522876

    According to this article it only took 1 hour for the jury to return the verdict.

    I read Sharon’s article in which Waggoner says he and his son were armed because of bears being reported in the area. Sounded fishy. Black bears are common in East Tennessee but they rarely venture into inhabited areas. And they typically only attack when they feel their cubs are threatened.

    I’ve noticed that although Sharon fancies herself a journalist, her reporting tends to consist of just quoting whatever her subject says without ever investigating whether it is true.

  7. If you had been at the trial,you would have seen all the evidence that got Waggoner convicted of 2nd degree murder.

    I attended the trail and the evidence was overwhelming.
    Just because he told you those things does not mean it is true.
    All one has to is see the mugshot of his son to realize he didn’t have any injuries on him.

    Waggoner also changed his story to trying to match the evidence,which didn’t work.

    I would think that you all would want to see the whole trial and see the evidence before reporting.

    It is so unfair to the victim and his family.

    1. Since TN courts will not provide documents to out-of-state residents or news outlets, and since there has been no contact with this publication by Mr. Waggoner for close to a year, The Post & Email was not able to provide updates on the case. We did, however, make an effort to interview the other party which was ultimately unsuccessful.