Murder charges upgraded against Bartlett man

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

BARTLETT, TN (WMC-TV) - In May, Thomas Pate was charged with second-degree murder after the man who loved to hunt told Bartlett Police he accidentally shot his wife in the back of the head. Now a grand jury has indicted Pate on an upgraded first degree murder charge.

Bartlett Police said the D.A.'s office reviewed the murder of Micah Pate, and upgraded the charge from second-degree to first-degree murder.

A grand jury indicted Pate on the upgraded charge.

The search for Bartlett nurse Micha Pate spun her tight-knit neighborhood into a frenzy Thursday, April 30th, 2009.

Her husband, Thomas, first reported her missing, saying she never came home from a run. Her co-workers were distraught. A massive search followed the following Friday.

By nightfall, Thomas Pate told police he accidentally shot his wife in the back of the head while target shooting in the Loosahatchie River Bottoms. Neighbors couldn't believe it.

By Sunday, Pate told police he had tossed his gun in the river. They charged him with second-degree murder, and Micah's congregation mourned.

The D.A.'s office has not commented on what exactly led to the upgraded charge four months later, but they now think it was premeditated, and that hikes the charge up to first-degree murder.

Pate's attorney, Leslie Ballin, was unavailable for comment.

The D.A.'s office said Pate remains out on a 250-thousand dollar bond. He is currently staying in Georgia with his dad. It's up to a judge to decide whether or not to revoke his bond and put him in jail.

He will be arraigned October 15th.

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