A Friend Dies in Our Sick Society

April/18/2010 16:41PM
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Man shot to death in Tellico Village after golf cart causes apparent road rage incident
By David Hall
Daily Times Correspondent
Originally published: April 16. 2010 2:52PM
Last modified: April 16. 2010 3:18PM
LOUDON — An apparent road rage incident has left one man dead and another facing murder charges in the upscale retirement community of Tellico Village.

Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider announced today that his detectives have charged a Tellico Village man with second-degree murder after the death of another Tellico Village man during an altercation in the middle of the road Thursday evening.

Guider said 69-year-old Norman Bren Whitton of Cheestana Way, Loudon, is being held under a $250,000 bond pending a preliminary hearing June 2 in Loudon County General Sessions Court. He was arraigned this morning after he was officially charged. The accused is claiming self-defense.

If convicted, Whitton could serve between 15 and 25 years in prison.

About 6:15 p.m. Thursday, Loudon County Sheriff’s Office, Rural Metro EMS and Tellico Village Fire Department were called to the intersection of Toqua Road and Cheestana Way to a report that a man had been shot.

As the emergency responders were on their way, dispatchers relayed information that one man had been shot and the alleged shooter was still on the scene.

LCSO deputies arrived first to secure the area. When the first deputy arrived, he reportedly found Larry Butcher, 74, Saligugi Way, Loudon, lying behind a car suffering from a single gunshot wound to the chest. Butcher died of his injury and LCSO Criminal Investigation Division was called in to investigate.

Guider said Whitton has a valid gun permit and was carrying his .38-caliber revolver in his car when he approached a slow-moving golf cart, driven by Butcher, on Toqua Road. Witnesses said they heard a car horn blow for a few seconds, then the horn stopped blowing, and one witness reported hearing a gunshot. Investigators worked into the night and early this morning piecing together what happened next.

According to Guider, apparently Butcher turned the golf cart around to talk to Whitton and the two vehicles were parked side-by-side with the driver’s side of each vehicle facing the other. At some point it appears Butcher exited the golf cart and approached Whitton’s car door and an argument ensued. At one point Whitton pulled the revolver and shot Butcher one time in the chest. Butcher then apparently staggered toward the rear of Whitton’s car where he collapsed and died.

Whitton allegedly stayed at the scene and placed the weapon on the passenger seat of his car, where authorities said they found the gun. Investigators also said it appeared Whitton fired his gun from inside his vehicle. “He was basically surrendering when the deputies arrived,” the sheriff explained.

When asked about a motive, Guider said “two persons became involved in an argument over the use of the roadway.”

Whitton was placed in custody and transported to the Loudon County Sheriff’s Department where he was interviewed. Authorities said Whitton claimed self-defense, but after gathering the evidence and consulting with the District Attorney’s Office, detectives charged Whitton with second-degree murder.

Guider said blood-alcohol tests were ordered on both the alleged shooter and the victim. The results of those tests have not been determined yet. An autopsy was under way this morning at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

From what investigators can determine that there was no previous relationship between the two men. “From what we can determine, there is no prior interaction between the two,” Guider said.

Detective Sgt. Jeff Russell and Lt. Patrick Upton are leading the investigation

Larry was a long-time friend and co-worker of mine. He was driving his golf cart home from a round of golf and evidently irritated a man in a vehicle. Many of the residents of the community where Larry lived owned their own carts and drove them to and from the golf course.

In our sick society irritating a motorist by driving too slowly merits the death penalty. With the movies today, the TV shows, and even the art being produced is it no wonder that we’ve come to this? Neighbors are no longer neighborly, local TV news carries two or three stories every night just like Larry’s story.

We have become a sick society, very dysfunctional. Someone costs you 30 seconds on the way home, shoot them. Someone makes you angry, shoot them. Perverts grab kids every day. A Steeler’s quarterback wants a woman, he helps himself and walks. OJ and Robert Blake kill their wives and walk.

We can thank the ACLU and an overpopulation of lawyers for this. We can thank the courts for this. We can stay soft on crime or tighten up. An illegal alien shot a rancher in Arizona for no reason. One out of two illegals come into the US through Arizona. Janet Napolitano wants Sheriff Joe to lighten up on arresting illegals in Maricopa Country. ICE just busted a ring that was transporting hundreds of illegals through Arizona and all over the country. A billon dollar business. Not all were Mexican, many were Chinese and some Middle-Eastern. Why would the Director of Homeland Security want a loose border where terrorists can get a limo ride to Chicago? A woman who is on Obama’s short list for a Supreme Court nomination.

As a Tea Party supporter, I believe we have more issues than government spending. We need to stop the ACLU and make this country safer so good men like Larry can drive a golf cart home without dying.

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