The man who escaped capture after robbing a Waffle House with a pitchfork earlier this month near Norcross, Ga., has been arrested and charged with murder in Tennessee.
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office said Jeffrey Willard Wooten, 49, of Knoxville, was arrested Friday, accused of murder and carjacking that ended with a police chase involving three law enforcement agencies.
According to a press release dated May 10, Wooten is alleged to have killed a 44-year-old man in his home, then carjacked a vehicle when the man’s sister and mother returned to the residence. The sheriff’s office said Ray Landis, 44, was found dead in the home.
Police said Wooten confronted the women with a gun when they returned home, stole the sister's car, then took police on a car chase on Interstate 40. He eventually crashed the stolen car and was taken into custody.
Wooten also was wanted for the Waffle House robbery on May 1, when he allegedly used the pitchfork to herd employees into a stock room and then take a cash register before fleeing. Norcross police said Wooten dropped the pitchfork in the parking lot and got into an altercation with two employees, which may have resulted in an injury to Wooten from the pitchfork turned against him.
Wooten took police on a car chase in Norcross, which also ended with him crashing his vehicle. He fled on foot and got away.
Wooten has been charged with first-degree murder, aggravated assault (two counts), felony theft and fugitive from justice. He was also wanted in Norcross for armed robbery and aggravated assault.
The Knox sheriff’s office said Wooten has a lengthy criminal history that includes resisting arrest, drug possession, armed robbery, burglary, flight/escape, weapons offenses and vehicle theft.
He is being held in the Knox County jail without bond.