Knoxville church shooter pleads guilty, gets life without parole


The man who opened fire in a Knoxville Church last July has pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Monday.

O&AN previously reported that Jim D. Adkisson, 58, killed two people and wounded seven others when he fired several shots with a sawed-off shotgun into the audience during a children’s production of "Annie" on July 27, 2008.

Police said Adkisson, an out-of-work truck driver, targeted the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, located at 2931 Kingston Pike, in Knoxville, because of its liberal social stance.

A letter in Adkisson’s car stated his hatred of the liberal movement, including liberals and gays. Police said Adkisson intended to fire shots into the congregation until he was killed by police.

Adkisson had been scheduled to stand trial next month, likely claiming an insanity defense, but his public defender said last week his client changed his mind.

After Adkisson entered his plea, Criminal Court Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz sentenced him to life in prison without parole.

The church issued a statement last week saying the justice system was providing an “appropriate sentence” for Adkisson’s crimes.