Etowah man charged in 2017 slaying arrested again on four counts of vandalism while free on bond

Etowah man charged in 2017 slaying arrested again on four counts of vandalism while free on bond

May 14th, 2019 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News

Joseph Wielzen

Joseph Wielzen

An Etowah, Tennessee, man charged in a 2017 slaying has been arrested again while out on bond.

Joseph R. Wielzen, 19, was charged with vandalism on May 8 after police received complaints from residents that their cars had been egged.

Police spotted Wielzen and four others in a dark-colored Jeep Cherokee matching the description of a vehicle seen in the area by a man who said his car had been egged. The Jeep had egg yolk running down the window, according to court records.

During the investigation, other residents complained that their vehicles and a house were also egged, the affidavit states.

Wielzen and another man, Victor L. Felix, whose listed address is in Jasper, Tennessee, were each booked on four counts of vandalism. Felix also had an unspecified active warrant. He remains jailed on a $4,878 bond, jail records show.

A third adult in the Jeep was not charged; the driver, a juvenile, also was not charged.

Wielzen had been out on bond while the homicide case is pending in court.

In that case, he is facing charges of felony murder and aggravated rape in the death of 18-year-old Kelsey N. Burnette, of Etowah.

Burnette, who graduated from McMinn Central High School a couple of months before and worked at the local McDonald's, was reported missing by her family on July 1, 2017. She was last seen walking through Etowah around 5 a.m. that day.

Days later, her body was found by a passerby on Charles Street.

Wielzen, who was 17 at the time, was initially held on a $200,000 bond, but he was able to make a reduced bond at $30,000 in September 2018 after his case was transferred to adult court and he was subsequently released.

He was not required to wear an ankle monitor, but he was ordered to not use or possess illegal intoxicants, including alcohol, by virtue of his age, court record show.

Wielzen was also ordered to not "commit any new criminal offenses" or have contact with Burnette's family.

The vandalism arrest, while a misdemeanor, might violate conditions of the order issued in March. On Tuesday, Tenth Judicial District Deputy District Attorney Shari Tayloe said she couldn't talk about whether Wielzen's bond will be revoked after last week's charges.

The homicide case is now nearing two years old and there has been no grand jury indictment.

Burnette's mother, Sissy Burnette, said Wednesday that prosecutors were in touch with her last week after Wielzen's arrest to discuss his court orders and bond status.

She seemed hopeful that the case was going to move forward, adding that prosecutors told her they hope to know more soon.

She urged anyone who has any information related to the investigation to contact the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.


Loading...