Alleged Waffle House pitchfork robber arrested in Tenn. murder

A Knoxville man with a lengthy criminal history has been identified as the suspect for a Friday afternoon break-in, carjacking, and murder in East Knox County.

Knox County Sheriff's Office announced Saturday that Jeffery Willard Wooten, 49, has been charged with first degree murder and two counts of aggravated robbery.

According to the Knox County Sheriff's Office, Wooten was also wanted for robbing a Georgia Waffle House with a pitchfork.

Investigators said Wooten is suspected of shooting and killing Randy Lands, 44, during a home invasion on Hunters Ridge Way Friday afternoon.

Lands's mother and his sister arrived at the home while the suspect was still there. The man confronted the two women at gunpoint, then stole the sister's SUV.

After the man took the car, the sister, who was visiting from Michigan, went inside, saw Lands, and called 911.

Randy's aunt spoke with WBIR by phone on Friday and said Randy lived with a learning disability.

She said he lived with his mother, Loretta Lands. According to her, while Randy did not have a job, he liked to take care of the home and do yard work. She said he was close with his mother.

About three hours after the incident, Loudon County officers spotted Wooten driving the stolen SUV. He led authorities on a high-speed chase. KCSO said Wooten got off the interstate in West Knox County on Lovell Road and crashed through the yard of a home.

Deputies took Wooten into custody and he was taken to UT Medical Center for injuries.

His criminal history in Knox County includes resisting, simple possession, armed robbery, burglary, fight/escape, weapon offense, and stolen vehicle.


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