Man charged with attempted murder in incident at Unicoi hotel

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Jun 13, 2018 at 8:07 PM

UNICOI — A Johnson City man has been charged with attempted second-degree murder for allegedly hitting his brother-in-law with an automobile in the parking lot of a Unicoi hotel.

Unicoi County sheriff’s deputies arrested Keith Daniel Peterson, 29, 288 Rockhouse Road, just after 7 a.m. Wednesday morning at Budget Inn, 185 Golf Course Road.

Peterson is charged with intentionally hitting his brother-in-law, Rodney Maple, with a 2005 Chevrolet Cavalier in the parking lot of the hotel on Tuesday and fleeing at high speed before abandoning the car on Buffalo Valley Golf Course.

Deputy William Berry reported that four people who witnessed the incident told officers that Peterson was accelerating when he struck Maple and that he had also pointed a gun at and nearly hit Maple’s son as the younger Maple attempting to chase him on foot.

Officers found Maple sitting in a chair outside the hotel with “major injuries” to his face, ear, forehead, teeth and lips. The injuries were apparently suffered when his head hit the pavement. Emergency medical responders treated Maple at the scene and transported him to a Johnson City hospital for further treatment.

Warrants charging Peterson with attempted murder and driving on revoked license state, “Deputies believe that Keith was knowingly trying to kill Rodney” due to the lack of “any visible marks of Keith’s vehicle trying to slow down or brake to avoid hitting Rodney.”

According to warrants, family members reported Peterson and his father hit Maple’s wife in the face earlier in the day and had returned to the hotel in the Cavalier when Maple walked through the parking lot to confront them.

Peterson, who eluded arrest on Tuesday, was arrested without incident at the hotel Wednesday morning after tenants reported he had returned.

According to his warrants, Peterson asked deputies about Maple while he was being transported to jail and spontaneously stated he did not have time to brake to avoid hitting him.

He was arraigned in Unicoi County Sessions Court on Wednesday and ordered to be held in the Unicoi County Jail on $200,000 bond.’

Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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