News-Sentinel speaks about letter

Knoxville (WVLT) - The Knoxville News Sentinel is opening up about a letter they received from a man after his death.

They tell Volunteer TV why they decided to publish the letter and how it affected their staff, and they share more information about the reported suicide note.

This house burned on March eleventh with two people inside. The next day the News Sentinel receives a letter in the mail from the owner of the burned home, Darrell darling.

"The contents were pretty much an open letter explaining the dissolution of a marriage," News Sentinel Night City Editor Rusty Pabst said. "Through the letter this guy just explains himself, and he does it quite eloquently."

The writer accuses his wife of cheating. One published segment reads: "Most of the affairs I have witnessed ended in divorce. If I had any heart left, any compassion, any mercy, that might be my answer to our question. As I have none of the above, punishment comes into play. May God have mercy on our souls."

Editors decided not to print the whole letter since there was no proof of the affair. They agreed it would be damaging to other person named. Pabst explains another personal excerpt which wasn't printed.

"It outlines the intentions of killing his wife and himself," Pabst said.

The News Sentinel reports on fires and murders daily, but this letter really hit home for some people at the paper.

"It was kind of shaking for some people around here, you knew there were two people dead," Pabst said.

The paper's website received negative comments from angry readers who believe the news Sentinel shouldn't have given this alleged murderer a voice. Editors say they only did it to show it was an alleged murder/suicide.

"I think we did it playing it right down the line with news not too far into his thoughts," Pabst said.

Those thoughts are now helping authorities solve this fire which is now considered an arson. Authorities still haven't positively identified the two victims inside the burned home. They've already done an autopsy, but now have to perform DNA tests.


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