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Update: Sheriff says Erwin man killed wife during argument over church tithes

Johnson City Press • Updated Aug 31, 2015 at 4:35 PM

Update: Erwin — An 81-year-old Erwin woman whose husband confessed to shooting her on Sunday has died, resulting in a first-degree murder charge, authorities said.

Mae McKinney died over night at Johnson City Medical Center, where she was treated after deputies found her with a gunshot wound to the head on Sunday. Norman Tobey McKinney, 76, alerted Unicoi County Deputy Austin Miller to the shooting on Sunday afternoon in the parking lot outside the Sheriff’s Office, saying he believed he had just killed his wife, Sheriff Mike Hensley reported.

Chief Investigator Ronnie Adkins said the couple had been arguing when Norman McKinney shot his wife with a handgun. Norman McKinney led deputies to the couple’s residence at 149 Masters St., where they found his wife still alive with a gunshot to the head. She was flown by helicopter to JCMC.

Hensley said the shooting was reported around 4 p.m. Sunday.

According to the affidavit of complaint filed against the husband, he provided a statement to investigators admitting that he had been arguing with his wife for at least one hour before the shooting. McKinney told investigators he threatened to kill his wife and pointed a loaded gun at her, when she slapped the gun, causing it to fire.

The sheriff reported Monday that the couple had been arguing over money that had been earmarked for church contributions..

“According to him, he had put some money back for church tithes,” Hensley said. “He couldn’t find it, and he basically accused her of taking the money.”

Norman McKinney initially was charged Sunday with attempted first-degree murder. Following his wife’s death, his charges were upgraded to first-degree murder on Monday. He was arraigned on the charge Monday morning in Sessions Court, where his bond was raised to $300,000. A second hearing was set for Thursday morning in Sessions Court.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation aided the Unicoi County Sheriff's Department in investigating the incident.

Hensley said the Sheriff’s Office had been to the residence at least once in the past but not recently. He said he and Adkins had been to the residence when Norman McKinney was in an argument regarding repairs to a vehicle.

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Earlier report:

ERWIN — A Unicoi County man turned himself in to a deputy outside Sheriff’s Office on Sunday, reporting that he had shot his wife.

Norman Tobey McKinney, 76, was charged with attempted first degree murder.

Sheriff Mike Hensley reported that McKinney alerted deputy Austin Miller on Sunday afternoon, saying he believed he had just killed his wife.

Deputies went to the residence on Masters Street, where they found an elderly women with a gunshot to the head. Mae McKinney was flown by helicopter to Johnson City Medical Center, where she was listed in critical condition.

McKinney was held in the Unicoi County Jail awaiting arraignment today in Sessions Court. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation aided the Unicoi County Sheriff's Department in investigating the incident.

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