Church shooter pleads guilty; letter released Adkisson to spend life behind bars for crimes
[Jim David] Adkisson pleaded guilty Monday in Knox County Criminal Court to a deadly shooting rampage at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, the Kingston Pike home of what the 58-year-old Powell man deemed “ultra liberals” and “foot soldiers” for the powers-that-be in the liberal movement.
He will spend the rest of his life behind bars for killing Greg McKendry, 60, and Linda Lee Kraeger, 61, after opening fire with a sawed-off shotgun inside the church where more than 200 people were gathered to watch a children’s musical. He admitted wounding six others.
During Monday’s hearing, Adkisson said little to explain his actions. After the hearing, however, he released to the News Sentinel a copy of the manifesto and would-be suicide letter he penned before the rampage.
It paints a portrait of angry fatalism by a former soldier, accomplished guitarist, failed husband and out-of-work mechanic.
“Over the years, I’ve had some good jobs, but I always got layed (sic) off,” he wrote. “Now I’m 58 years old and I can’t get a decent job. I’m told I’m ‘over qualified,’ which is a code word for ‘too damned old,’ like I’m expected to age gracefully in poverty. No thanks! I’m done.”
After lamenting the ills of liberalism and Democrats, Adkisson explains why he specifically targeted TVUUC, which he once attended with his now-ex-wife.
“Don’t let the word church mislead you,” he wrote. “This isn’t a church, it’s a cult. They don’t even believe in God. They worship the God of secularism. … The UU church is the fountainhead, the veritable wellspring of anti-American organizations.”
He hints at a more personal motivation.
“They embrace every pervert that comes down the pike, but if they find out your (sic) a conservative, they absolutely hate you,” he wrote. “I know. I experienced it.”
The letter offers no other detail about his experience.