Tennessee man accused of killing wife thinking she had stolen his church tithe money
Man praying while holding the Bible (Shutterstock.)

A 76-year-old Tennessee man was charged with first-degree murder after fatally shooting his wife because he thought she had stolen and hidden money he planned to tithe to his church, law enforcement officials said on Tuesday.

Norman McKinney of Erwin, Tennessee, in the eastern part of the state, had been charged with attempted murder on Monday, the day after he was arrested by the sheriff's department after shooting his wife, Unicoi County Sheriff's chief investigator Ronnie Adkins said.

Deputies went to his house and found May McKinney still alive in the couple's bedroom, but suffering from a gunshot wound in the head, Adkins said. She died on Monday morning after being airlifted to Johnson City Medical Center, and the charge against her husband was upgraded.

“Mr. McKinney had the gun pointed to her head because he thought she had stolen his tithe money and hidden it,” Adkins said. The officers who searched the house found no hidden collection of money.

Norman McKinney appeared in court on Monday and his bond was set at $300,000. He remains in the Unicoi County Jail.

“It’s a sad situation for all concerned, especially the families,” Adkins said. “He’s incarcerated and she’s lost her life and then the families are left with grief and pain to deal with.”