Patricia Wilkey

This story was corrected at 10:35 a.m. June 18, 2019, to reflect that there are nine women and four men on the jury.

A sequestered jury of nine women and four men was seated late Monday to hear testimony in the trial of a Rhea County, Tennessee, woman charged in the 2017 slaying of her husband.

Patricia Wilkey, 52, is being tried on a charge of first-degree murder in the shooting death of 51-year-old Thomas Richard "Skipper" Wilkey Jr. at the couples' home on Walkertown Road on Dayton Mountain. The empanelled jury consists of 12 peers and one alternate until deliberations, when the alternate will be dismissed. Patricia Wilkey was charged the same day Skipper Wilkey was found dead. She admitted to the shooting, authorities said after the arrest.

Patricia Wilkey and Skipper Wilkey had gotten married in the past, divorced, married others, and then in 2013 got back together and remarried and moved into a home on Walkertown Road, near Patricia Wilkey's family members.

Twelfth Judicial District Attorney General Mike Taylor said Skipper Wilkey was lying on a bed and Patricia Wilkey "took a .38 caliber revolver and shot him twice, once in each side of the head."

A forensic examination determined that the first shot wasn't lethal but the second was fatal, Taylor said. After the deadly shot was fired, Patricia Wilkey donned purple latex gloves and moved her husband's body from the bedroom to the kitchen, Taylor told jurors. She wrapped his body in black plastic and packing tape and her fingerprints were found on the plastic and both Wilkeys' blood was found on the gloves, Taylor said.

Because Skipper Wilkey was so much larger than Patricia Wilkey, she was unable to move him. Taylor told jurors that she gathered the bedding and took it to a site in Bledsoe County where she threw the items off a bluff. The revolver was never recovered.

The next morning, Patricia Wilkey called 911 and told dispatchers that her husband had not been home the night before and that she had a doctor's appointment and was headed to it when she realized that she had an appointment but on a different day. So she returned home where she told dispatchers she saw a black SUV leaving the residence and that she entered the home and found her husband wrapped in black plastic and tape and shot in the head.

Taylor said crime scene photos show that Skipper Wilkey's head was not visible because of the black plastic and tape.

"This not a whodunnit," Taylor told jurors. "Mrs. Wilkey killed her husband."

Marty Lasley, Patricia Wilkey's attorney, told jurors Monday that his client's case is one of self defense. He said he plans to put expert witnesses on the stand to testify about her state of mind at the time of the fatal shooting.

Lasley agreed there was no question about who shot Skipper Wilkey, but that the question was why, and he pointed to a history of violence that defense witnesses would testify to.

"She told them [police] that he'd put a gun to her head," Lasley told jurors. He said a dispute arose between the couple over medication she had in a safe.

Lasley said his client likely will take the stand to testify that Skipper Wilkey put a gun to her head and threatened to kill her.

"He wanted her to open her safe and get out some of her medication and give it to him," Lasley said.

"Mrs. Wilkey is going to say they got in this fight and it was over that and it had been a fight before," Lasley said. "The gun came out. Put to the head. Continued threats."

With a gun in one hand, Skipper Wilkey retrieved another gun, a second gun he regularly carried, and laid it aside, Lasley said.

"He keeps yacking, saying what he's going to do and she grabs it and shoots him," Lasley said. The shot isn't fatal. Skipper Wilkey got back up and continued to berate her and she fired a second, fatal shot, Lasley said.

Lasley said Patricia Wilkey concocted a story in panic but eventually told everyone exactly what happened.

"This is not a one-time thing," Lasley said. "This is a pattern."

When case testimony is concluded, Lasley asserted, jurors would see the shooting as self defense.

Contact Ben Benton at or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at