The Carter County Sheriff’s Department is continuing to investigate the incident, but Sheriff Chris Mathes said it appears Robert B. McKinney, 40, 102 Rainbows End, Roan Mountain, went to the residence of a longtime friend, Grover E. Richardson, 56, 1180 Dry Creek Road, and shot Richardson in the head with a .22-caliber pistol.
“Richardson was found sitting in a chair where we had seen him sitting when we had been to the house before,” Mathes said.
Richardson was already dead when deputies and medical personnel arrived.
McKinney’s body was found lying across the road from Richardson’s residence with a single gunshot wound to the head. Mathes said the sheriff’s department got the call at 12:07 a.m. Friday, immediately after the shooting. The call came from a woman who had found McKinney lying next to the road.
Mathes said one immediate concern was for the safety of McKinney’s ex-wife, Tammy Kay Cox, 38, 1301 Highway 143, Roan Mountain. The sheriff said she had been seen with McKinney on Thursday, and there was concern she may have been injured or killed.
Cox was found to be safe by deputies and completely unaware of the shootings. She was arrested on an outstanding warrant charging her with aggravated burglary and theft of property over $500.
Those charges stem from a complaint by Garrett Allen Odom, Teaberry Road, Roan Mountain, who said someone had entered his residence earlier in the month and stolen numerous items including three rifles, two televisions, a DVD player, three Black and Decker hand tools, two vacuum cleaners and other items.
Mathes said the motive for the shooting has not yet been clearly identified, but Richardson and McKinney had seemingly been longtime friends.
It was the second time in less than a year that the sheriff’s department had been to the Richardson home on a serious incident.
On Sept. 25, 2008, Carter County deputies had come to the residence and arrested Richardson’s son, Travis Richardson, 26, on an attempted first-degree murder charge following a stabbing two days before.
The younger Richardson had been accused of going to the residence of an ex-girlfriend and stabbing her new boyfriend, Daniel Honeycutt, as he lay in bed.
A four-county manhunt was undertaken to arrest the younger Richardson. The manhunt ended when deputies found him at his father’s residence, which was also listed as his home.
Mathes said at the time that more than 50 weapons were found in the home, and it could have been a very dangerous standoff if Richardson had not been taken by surprise.
When asked if there were still a lot of guns at the residence on Friday, Mathes said “yes, there were quite a few.”