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Man charged with murder

An Erwin man has been charged by the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department with first-degree murder following the shooting death of his wife.
Sheriff Mike Hensley said his department arrested Norman C. McKinney, 76, 149 Masters St., Erwin, on Sunday, Aug. 30, after McKinney appeared at the Sheriff’s Department Jail Annex on Jackson-Love Highway around 4:30 p.m.
“Mr. McKinney approached Deputy Austin Miller and said ‘I believe I killed my wife’,” Hensley told The Erwin Record on Monday, Aug. 31.
Hensley said officers went to McKinney’s residence on Masters Street and found the body of his wife, May McKinney, 81, lying in the bed in the bedroom and having suffered a gunshot wound to the head. Mrs. McKinney was breathing and did have a pulse when the officers arrived.
“EMS was immediately called and Mrs. McKinney was airlifted to Johnson City Medical Center in critical condition,” Hensley said. “I received a call around 1 a.m. and was informed that she had died.”
The home was secured as a crime scene and McKinney was arrested. Sheriff’s department and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation officers were called to investigate, according to the sheriff. Hensley said McKinney told officers that he and his wife had an argument over money he planned to give to a church.
“He accused her of stealing the money,” Hensley said. “He pulled a gun and put it in her face and threatened to kill her. He said she slapped at the gun and it went off, striking her in the head. That is what he told investigators.”
The gun used in the alleged shooting was a .32 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, according to Hensley.
Prior to his wife’s death, McKinney was charged with attempted first-degree murder. This was changed to first-degree murder following her death, Hensley said.
“This is a very tragic event,” Hensley also said. “Our prayers go out to the family.”
McKinney appeared in Unicoi County court on Monday, Aug. 31, before Judge David Shults. McKinney was appointed a public defender and a $300,000 corporate bond was set.
McKinney is scheduled to appear in court again on Thursday, Sept. 3.