Fletcher found guilty in murder

Thursday, February 22, 2018
David Darrell Fletcher

A second man has been found guilty in the two-year-old gang-related murder of Angela Kibble in Shelbyville.

On Wednesday this week, a jury found David Fletcher of Winchester guilty of first degree murder, first degree murder in perpetrating a felony and aggravated burglary in connection with Kibble's death.

Kibble, 45, was shot and killed in her Belmont Avenue apartment on Sept. 14, 2015.

On Sept. 14 last year, Kavaris Kelso was found guilty on charges of aggravated burglary and first degree murder for Kibble's murder. Prosecutors said Kelso was the gunman and Fletcher organized the hit.

Sentencing

Fletcher is scheduled for a sentencing hearing April 16. The two murder charges call for an automatic life sentence, which is defined as 60 years with parole eligibility after 51 years, said Assistant District Attorney Michael Randles. Those two sentences would be combined into one sentence. The aggravated burglary charge calls for three to 15 years.

Kelso received a life sentence on his murder charge and six years on his aggravated burglary charge, Randles said. He is currently appealing for a new trial.

Retaliation

The hit was allegedly in retaliation for Kibble's son, Michael Dominic Sales, alleged involvement in the Sept. 6, 2015 shooting death of Carlton Capone Caruth of Fayetteville. Revenge and regaining respect were motives, prosecutors said.

A neighbor found Kibble's body the morning of Sept. 14 on her couch, with blood streaming down her head, prosecutors said during Kelso's trial. Kelso shot her sometime after midnight.

Sales was arrested around 11 p.m. Sept. 13, about an hour before Kibble's murder, Randles said during Kelso's trial.

Prosecutors said in both trials that gang members including Kelso and Fletcher traveled from Tullahoma to Shelbyville to find and kill either Sales or his mother.

Gang involvement

Both the prosecution and defense in Fletcher's trial made reference to a gang called "The G's" or the Gangster Disciples. FBI archives say they are one of the subgroups of the Black Gangster Disciples.

In the closing arguments in Fletcher's trial on Wednesday, Randles said Fletcher traveled to different locations and made multiple phone calls the night of the 13th and the early morning of the 14th to gather people who could help him find Sales and Kibble.

"He's the one running the show," Randles said.

After the shooting, Fletcher threatened some members of the group to stay silent, those who were outsiders, prosecutors said, while he felt others did not need to be threatened, they said.

One stop prior to the murder was an apartment where Kelso was with other people who became involved in the shooting, Randles said. The murder weapon was passed to Fletcher who gave it to Kelso, he said. Kelso temporarily gave the weapon back to Fletcher so he could get dressed, but Fletcher gave the pistol back to Kelso before they left, Randles said. The weapon was never recovered.

Timeline

Prosecutors and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation built a case showing a timeline of what they said was Fletcher's phone pinging off various cell towers leading from Tullahoma to Shelbyville and back to Tullahoma around the time of the murder. The phone was used to contact other people who prosecutors said were involved to various degrees.

The timeline also included video camera footage from various businesses around Shelbyville showing members of the group, in three cars, at locations including a gas station in Shelbyville.

Defense attorney Christopher Westmoreland took issue with the prosecution's timeline and phone evidence, among other things. He questioned the reliability of the statements of other members of the group. He said another member of the group had Fletcher's phone part of the night of the murder.

None of the video recordings showed Fletcher with the other members of the group that night, he said. He accused prosecutors of playing on jury members' emotions by mentioning that Kibble was a loving, hard-working grandmother and that it was fortunate that she was not taking care of any grandchildren the night of her murder.

The prosecution could not give a firm time of death, Westmoreland said, and he questioned the prosecution's saying the exact time did not matter.

"Time is very important in this case," he said.

Firecrackers or shots?

Westmoreland said that a neighbor of Kibble's heard "firecrackers" at the time Fletcher's group was supposed to be on Belmont Avenue.

DNA belonging to one member of the group -- not Fletcher -- was found in a glove, Westmoreland said. That attorney said that man knew Caruth and was shown in the video footage around Shelbyville.

Fletcher did not know Caruth, the attorney said. He questioned Fletcher's involvement with the group and said he was not there.

"He never met half the people," Westmoreland said in questioning whether he passed the gun to Kelso.

The attorney asked if it was reasonable to suggest that Fletcher would organize a group of strangers to kill a man he did not know in revenge for another stranger's murder (Caruth). He said that other members of the group conspired to frame Fletcher.

Recordings tell story

In a rebuttal, District Attorney General J. Robert Carter said people all remember events differently. While Fletcher was not on video, the recordings backed up what the other members of the group said.

Carter said that if members of the group were to conspire to frame Fletcher, it would make more sense to lie and say he was the shooter.

Sentencing will come in a future hearing.