West TN teacher accused in Opry Mills Mall stabbing - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

West TN teacher accused in Opry Mills Mall stabbing

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Earl Kelley (Photo from Metro PD) Earl Kelley (Photo from Metro PD)
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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A teacher from West Tennessee is suspected of stabbing a woman last month in broad daylight in the middle of a weekday afternoon at the parking lot outside Opry Mills Mall.

Earl Scott Kelley, 42, of Munford, TN, was booked in the Tipton County Jail on a charge of attempted murder after a 39-year-old Williamson County woman was stabbed in her car July 17 near the Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th store.

Kelley was extradited to Nashville on Saturday and remains in jail.

The woman told police the suspect approached her as she reached her car, got in through the front passenger door, told her not to scream or panic, stabbed her without saying a word and then walked to another vehicle two rows away before driving off.

She was treated and released from an area hospital with cuts on both arms.

A motive in the stabbing has not been released, and the victim said the suspect never made a robbery demand.

Witnesses were able to note the license plate number of the white SUV in which the suspect drove away, and detectives later determined Kelley was in Nashville at the time to attend an education conference and was a guest at Opryland Hotel.

Witness Christie Meyers, who was visiting from Illinois, said she saw the woman soon after the attack.

"She was parked nine spots away from Saks. She wasn't parked way far out in the parking lot," Meyer said. "She said, 'I didn't have my car doors locked. I was looking down. I wasn't paying attention. I was putting on lipstick. He jumped in my car and stabbed me.'"

The knife used in the attack was found on the ground near the crime scene, police said.

Investigators later traveled to Tipton County to interview Kelley as a possible suspect, and he denied any involvement, police said, but forensic evidence tied him to the case.

In a statement after the attack, mall officials said: "We are fully cooperating with the Nashville Police Department as they investigate this isolated incident, which has resulted in the stabbing of one individual. We are saddened by this and remain committed to the safety of our shoppers."

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