Trial set for murder suspect

Staff Reports • Dec 17, 2015 at 6:22 PM

A man charged with first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder appeared briefly in Wilson County Court Monday morning.

Michael Demond Starks, 29, of Lebanon, appeared before Judge John Wootten Jr. where a trial was set for Oct. 8.

Starks’ charges stem from a December 2012 shooting spree that left Desmine Watts, 21, dead.

Police said Watts was shot “at least twice in the face area and once in the torso.”

According to police, the shooting was believed to have happened on the front porch of Starks’ home at 326 S. Maple St., but the victim was found a few buildings away.

“The victim actually fled down to the gravel lot down there beside Shorty’s Wrecker Service,” Lebanon police Chief Scott Bowen had said. “We knew once we got there that he was in serious condition.”

Paramedics took Watts to University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead soon after arrival.

Police said they believed Starks and Watts had an altercation on the front porch of Starks’ home and that Starks left the home immediately after the shooting. He was then believed to be involved in another shooting on South Greenwood Avenue.

Tyler Chandler of the Mt. Juliet police also had said a driver on Interstate 40 reported that someone fired a shot at their car on the interstate about 30 minutes after Watts was shot. Three adults and two children were in the car at the time. 

No one was injured in the shooting on South Greenwood Avenue or the shooting on Interstate 40.

According to Bowen, the driver whose car was shot at on Interstate 40 said she knew Starks, but she did not know of any possible motive.

“We know that the [suspected] shooter has a lengthy criminal history, including a couple of cocaine possession charges and an aggravated assault conviction from a shooting up in Upton Heights in 2005,” said Bowen. “He was sentenced to six years in that one.”

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