Atkins family member believes Sunday murder could be related killing on same street

By: Stephen McLamb Email
By: Stephen McLamb Email
The search is on for a murderer in Knoxville.
27 year old Antoine Manro Watkins was found dead in the Selma Avenue home he shared with his father.
The murder scene is across the street from another murder investigation from last  March.

Antoine M. Watkins, 27, was found dead inside a Selma Ave. home. (Photo Courtesy: Knox County Sheriff's Office)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The search is on for a murderer in Knoxville.

27 year old Antoine Manro Watkins was found dead in the Selma Avenue home he shared with his father.

The murder scene is across the street from another murder investigation from last March.

That of murder of Nola Atkins, and it's still unsolved.

Knoxville police say it's just a coincidence.

They don't believe the reasons behind both murders are related, but Nola's relatives aren't so sure.

They believe the reasons might not be the same but maybe the players involved might be.

"It may sound bad but I don't feel sorry for him," says Atkins' son, Ronald Martin.

Martin is talking about Antoine Watkins, found murdered in a house Sunday on Selma Avenue across the street where his mother, Nola Atkins, was found murdered in March.

Martin says during his time of grief he had his suspicions about Watkins and whether or not he may have been connected to his mother's death.

"He was walking up and down he street raising Cain, the police really couldn't do anything. He was saying he wasn't scared of the police, this, that, and the other," says Martin.

"We can't say that it's any kind of relationship to the homicide, at this time. But have you ruled it out? No, we haven't ruled it out," says Knoxville police Sgt. Tim Snoderly.

Police believe the reasons for the two murders are not the same, but Martin believes the players are.

Martin says Darius Kyle, who was recently released as a suspect in the Atkins murder, is a cousin of Watkins.

"The guy they let out, Darius Kyle, was living across the street from where my mother lived, in Mr. Watkins house," says Martin.

But for people on Selma Avenue, Sunday's homicide was doubly disturbing.

Neighbor Sherman McDuffey says, "We never had deaths up here before and all of a sudden two deaths in less than a year?"

McDuffey says he's not scared but got some protection after the Atkins murder.

"My daughter and son in law came up and put an alarm on my house and also put one in my brother's house down the street," says McDuffey.

McDuffey may not be scared, but the neighborhood's association president says others are.

"It's mostly women and they are afraid to leave out to go to the grocery store. And I told them you just have to put it in God's Hand."

WVLT asked Knoxville police if Kyle was the one who called police to report
Watkins' death and whether he was a person of interest.

They would neither confirm or deny either question.

As far as Watkins death, cops are searching for suspects but have no one in custody.

He does have a criminal record, but his relatives say he had recently put his life in god's hands and was cleaning up.


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