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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