published Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Meigs County authorities probe shooting

No charges have been filed so far in a Tuesday altercation in Meigs County's Cottonport community that left one man with critical gunshot injuries, authorities said.

Mitchell Delashmitt was shot after he went to the Holly Glen Road home of Wendell Beaty looking for someone about 6:50 p.m. Tuesday, Meigs County, Tenn., Sheriff Jackie Melton said in a news release.

"Beaty allowed Delashmitt to enter the home and sometime thereafter an altercation occurred and Delashmitt was shot once in the upper torso with a .38-caliber revolver," Melton said.

Authorities have not identified the person who fired the shot.

Delashmitt was flown to Erlanger hospital in Chattanooga for treatment and was last listed in critical condition, the sheriff said.

Sheriff's office staff said Melton was out of town Wednesday and could not be reached.

Delashmitt made headlines in 2003 when he was accused of raping and killing his 14-month-old daughter, Angel Mae Delashmitt, according to newspaper archives.

Evidence from the medical examiner in the case, Dr. Ron Toolsie, was discredited by the then-state medical examiner and a University of Tennessee pathologist who said the child drowned and bore no signs of sexual assault.

Toolsie's medical license was suspended over unrelated drug problems and in 2010 Delashmitt pleaded guilty to lesser charges. He was sentenced to five years, with credit for three-and-a-half years he spent in jail awaiting trial and the rest on probation.

Neither local authorities nor TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm commented Wednesday on whether there was any connection between Tuesday's shooting and the 2003 case.

Ninth Judicial District Attorney General Russell Johnson said Wednesday that a decision on charges is pending while TBI and Meigs County conduct interviews.

"They have yet to interview the victim, so we can't speculate at this time if there will or will not be charges until the investigation is complete," Johnson said.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at or 423-757-6569. Subscribe to his Facebook posts at and follow him at on Twitter.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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