Witness testifies defendant admitted trying to kill wife

Witness testifies defendant admitted trying to kill wife

March 7th, 2013 by Todd South in Local Regional News

Shannon Ory

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

Shannon Ory's former mistress testified Wednesday he told her he had tried to kill his wife and then threatened her to make sure she didn't tell anyone.

Brandi Thomas, formerly Brandi Duggan, testified in Ory's trial on attempted first-degree murder and attempted especially aggravated kidnapping charges. The trial began Tuesday and resumes this morning.

Thomas testified that she and Ory began an affair while working together at TVA in 2008 while he was married to Kristina Speights.

The couple had been married for 13 years and had two children together before they separated in October 2009.

Speights had testified Tuesday that on Dec. 16, 2009, Ory attacked her outside her parents' home, breaking her left eye socket and her nose and trying to shove her under a vehicle and run over her.

Shortly after the alleged attack, police found a shirt with Speights' blood on it in Ory's home.

On Wednesday, Thomas testified that shortly after the incident she asked Ory if he had attacked his wife and he said he had.

When she asked why, he told her "it was probably in my best interest that I didn't know any of that stuff because a lawyer had advised him not to say anything," Thomas said.

She said that afterward, Ory threatened her five or more times not to tell anyone, grabbing her by the throat and shoving her against a wall.

Ory's attorney, Ben McGowan, told the jury at the start of the trial that Ory was set up. He picked at possible inconsistencies in testimony from both Speights and Thomas.

He asked why Speights didn't tell police the masked man who attacked her was her husband when she first called 911, though she later said she couldn't be sure but thought it was her husband.

McGowan showed emails, photos and other evidence of Thomas' and Ory's relationship seeming happy and normal during the same period she claimed he had threatened her.

Prosecutors claim that while Ory was in jail on charges related to the attack on Speights, he tried to hire a fellow inmate to kill her.

The inmate reported the exchange to jailers.

Ory was indicted on that charge in June 2010 after his indictment on charges related to the attack. The alleged murder-for-hire attempt is scheduled for a separate trial, and that information will not be shown to the jury in the current case.

Ory's trial for the alleged attack initially was scheduled for November 2011, but he fled to Texas.

He later was arrested and brought back to Tennessee. Ory is in custody in the Hamilton County Jail.