East Tennessee Man Charged in Foster Child's Death

By: Rob Pratt Email
By: Rob Pratt Email

Morristown (WVLT) -- An East Tennessee man is now facing charges in the death of his foster child.

The incident report says 53 year-old former body builder Kenneth Wayne Taylor got into an argument with 16 year-old Jordan Shelton at his home in Morristown on Saturday.

Investigators say Taylor grabbed Shelton's arm, and chocked him to the ground.

Shelton died later at U.T. Medical Center.

Sources tell Volunteer TV that an autopsy shows he died of asphyxiation.

Taylor is now charged with reckless homicide and is in jail on $250,000 bond.

Volunteer TV's Rob Pratt spoke to Shelton's family and they say he shouldn't have been living with Taylor in the first place.

Court records show Taylor has convictions for driving under the influence and drug possession.

Now, Shelton's family wants to know why he wound up with a convicted criminal.

"He caught his first catfish with me, that's how I want to remember him," said Robby Webb, Jordan Shelton's father.

"He loved to go fishing and hunting, and he never raised a hand to anybody," said Bill Peach, Shelton's uncle and former guardian.

But it's the hand that was allegedly raised to the 16-year old Jordan Kaleb Shelton this weekend that has his family asking questions.

They want to know why a 16 year-old who was placed in state custody would be sent to live in the home of a former body-builder, who was capable of carrying discipline too far.

"He wasn't a perfect angel, but he didn't deserve this. He was a good kid," said Bill Peach, uncle.

Peach was Shelton's guardian for three years.

He says last year, Shelton tried living with his father and then his mother again.

But he says in the end, poor school attendance and other behavior problems at school led to Sheldon being placed in state custody in January.

Two months ago, he moved in with his new foster parents.

Sheldon's mother, Shelly Shelton, had an all-day visit with her son last week.

She says he told her about arguments in his foster home, but no violence.

"He said that he just walked away when Ken would fuss at him, but he never told me that there was any bad relationship between them," said Shelly Sheldon.

But it all turned bad on Saturday at the Taylor's home on Pinewood Circle.

Taylor apparently caught Sheldon smoking and grounded him.

According to the incident report, the foster father told investigators that the two argued and the teen attacked.

That's when Taylor tells detectives he grabbed Shelton's arm and choked him to the ground.

"That is a tragedy that certainly could have been avoided," said Sheriff Jarnagin.

There was another foster child in the home at the time of the incident.

That child was taken out of the home this weekend.


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  • by RagingBull Location: Montreal on Dec 29, 2009 at 12:47 PM
    This man has done nothing wrong, except show some bad judgement in how he restrained the boy. That`s all. I had a wife (now ex) that had a WICKED temper and would sometimes try to get physical with me. All I would do is wrap her up in my arms so she couldn`t do anything but struggle. I would tell her, "when you stop, I let go." Now, I understand the boy weighed only 10 lbs less than Ken. I would have fought him too, he obviously was large enough to cause some real damage. Back off Ken, he was just protecting himself and trying to teach this kid to control his temper. I have a 16 year old too, if he attacked me, he would get it right back.
  • by John Location: CA on Dec 18, 2009 at 07:56 PM
    Kenneth Taylor should be found not guilty on all charges. He is guilty of involuntary manslaughter, but he shouldn't do any jail time. Sad story, but stuff like this happens sometimes. He shouldn't spend his life in prison because that boy's mother wants justice. She didn't even want her own kid in the first place. And if Ken Taylor hadn't taken this kid in, Jordan would probably be in jail and the guards would probably be beating him everyday because of his need to disobey.
  • by Angel Location: Ft. Campbell on Dec 17, 2009 at 05:07 AM
    A CHILD IS NOW DEAD AS A RESULT OF STRANGULATION BY KENNETH TAYLOR, UNDISPUTABLY SO. HE CAN ONLY GET 1ST DEGREE OR 2ND DEGREE MURDER. HIS ACTIONS CAUSED THE DEATH OF THE CHILD. HE SHOULD GO TO PRISON FOR LIFE. 3-5 MINUTES IS A LONG TIME WHEN UR TRYING TO BREATHE!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • by shelia Location: newport on Feb 12, 2009 at 10:11 PM
    There is three sides to every story yours theres and the TRUTH!!!!
  • by smith Location: knoxville on Jan 31, 2008 at 02:02 PM
    iwas abused in a foster home in IN. i had a ciggerate put out on my back. the foster parents eas an acohlic. i know what the mother is going threw. they sould never gave him afoster licencse in the first place. my brothers and sister are in foster care right now the same judge that put him in foster care put my brother and sister their. it did not give the right for that man to take that boys life. that is not a christan person. there is no reason to put achild in afoster home that does not need to be there. they take kids for no reason at all when there are kids that need to be taken they ignore them they need to change the laws in TN and all over the usa
  • by Angela Location: Morristown on Nov 29, 2007 at 11:01 PM
    Why wouldn't DCS check into the numerous complaints from neighbors about these kids? Why were troubled kids placed into the home of someone with a shady (documented) past? This is just another unfortunate tragedy due to the lack of accountability within the "system" that we are supposed to trust. It's a slap in the face to the parents who's children are placed in state custody and told "it is in the best interest of the child". How many more children have to die before TN lawmakers tighten the reigns on DCS and hold them accountable for their case-loads? No child should fall through the cracks when it's their life on the line. Sure they may try to manipulate the system into getting what they want....that's a learned behavior isn't it? An argument can escalate into a physical altercation in the blink of an eye, teenagers are great at pushing us to that point. However...a choke hold isn't a method of restraint; it's a show of dominance in an attempt to overpower the victim.
  • by Anonymous Location: Newport on Nov 27, 2007 at 10:08 PM
    I know Ken and Lisa.. I know someone who lived with the taylors and Ken had put another Boy in a choke hold... He needs to put away for Life.. NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENED GAVE HIME THE RIGHT TO TAKE THE LIFE OF THIS BOY!!! What If it was your child?
  • by POO Location: Morristown on Nov 27, 2007 at 08:11 PM
    B.s. stop protecting the murderer! I do not feel sorry for him! He knew what he was doing. Check his blood for drugs! He is a recovering drug addict!
  • by Concerned Citizen Location: Morristown on Nov 27, 2007 at 08:04 PM
    Come on! This man is a wolf in sheeps clothing! He has a drug problem and a temper problem! This man needs to be put away in a psychiatric ward! He knew what he was doing! He has issues that go beyond what anyone really knows! Yes, he claims to be a good "Christian", POO! The devil himself trembles in fear of God! If the man is such a "good christian"' why did he lie about the boy having O.D. on a handful of pills?! People!!!! This man has a silver tongue and has the power of persuasion! I know him Personally! He is evil! and Guilty! These boys have been trying for years to complain on how they have and are treated in the Taylors home and nobody in the system listens to the child because they have messed up lives, but they will listen to a man that does this only for the benefit of money!
  • by Anonymous on Nov 26, 2007 at 11:16 PM
    While I do not condone the death of this child, there are two sides to every story. This kid did have problems and it was noted on the news that he DOES have an anger problem. Before you pass judgemnt on this guy, let's hear both sides. There is no way I wouod take anyone problem child into my house. Kids today have no respect and they know they *can* use the laws to abuse your kindness. I just love how the mother was ont he TV saying "he won't get away with this." Where the heck was she when this happened? Why does she not have custody of him? Something smells fishy to me. TELL US THE WHOLE STORY!
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