Sean Foley enters Blount County General Sessions Court for preliminary hearing

Sean Patrick Foley walks into Judge William Brewer’s general sessions courtroom for his preliminary hearing Oct. 29 in the Aug. 28 shooting death of Jimmy L. Shelton. Foley was charged with criminal homicide at the time, but on Jan. 7 a grand jury indicted him on a charge of first-degree murder.

A Blount County grand jury this week returned a first-degree murder indictment against a 25-year-old Maryville man.

Sean Patrick Foley is accused in the Aug. 28, 2018, shooting death of Jimmy L. Shelton on the back deck of Shelton’s residence on Beaver Drive, Maryville.

Shelton had four gunshot wounds to his upper body when deputies arrived around 6 a.m. and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

During an October preliminary hearing, Blount County General Sessions Judge William R. Brewer Jr. declined a motion by Foley’s attorney to reduce the charge against him to manslaughter.

The indictment the grand jury returned Monday is a charge of intentional, premeditated killing, but Foley could be cleared or convicted of a lesser crime.

Foley had recorded the incident on his cellphone, starting before the shooting. On the recording played at the preliminary hearing, Foley says Shelton had been molesting his girlfriend and rushed Foley when confronted.

Foley followed a dispatcher’s orders to place the gun he had in a mailbox and wait for deputies to arrive, according to testimony at the preliminary hearing.

During that hearing, Blount County Assistant District Attorney General Ryan Desmond said Shelton could have been in a consensual relationship with the woman, who was in her 20s, and Foley waited more than 20 minutes before intervening with a gun.

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