KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Court documents are shedding light on what happened before a Knoxville Police officer found a dead body and a woman being held captive during a welfare check at home on Bellevue Street.
Joe Whitaker, 57, was arrested and later charged with first degree murder in the death of 76-year-old Julius Parker. He also faces charges of rape, especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, tampering with evidence, theft and theft of a firearm.
According to court documents, Whitaker “abruptly left his job with a large kitchen knife” around 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 12. He reportedly told his manager he was going to a home on Bellevue Street to hurt someone.
The documents showed that the manager called 911 to report the incident and a short time later an officer responded to the Bellevue home to perform a welfare check. However, the officer did not locate anyone at the home.
Five days later, a family member went to the home after not hearing from Parker for several days. Court documents said after entering the home with his key, he saw Whitaker and the female victim in the home. He also reported seeing a trail of blood which led to the basement where he saw what appeared to be a dead body on the floor covered in blankets.
He left the home and called 911. The responding officer was reportedly invited in by the female victim. Court documents said the officer saw the trail of blood on the floor and following it to Parker’s body in the basement.
The documents allege Whitaker waived his Miranda Rights after being detained and agreed to speak with detectives without an attorney present. According to the narrative within the documents, Whitaker confessed to killing Parker on the evening of the 12th by stabbing him with the knife he stole from his employer over a financial dispute with the victim.
He also reportedly said he wanted to kill Parker due to his “alleged inappropriate sexual advances” toward the female victim.
The female victim told law enforcement she watched Whitaker repeatedly stab Parker after he broke into Parker’s house through a basement window according to court documents. She also said she watched Whitaker drag Parker’s body to the basement.
Court documents said Whitaker found a 25 caliber pistol belonging to Parker in the home and held the female victim hostage at gunpoint for several days. Whitaker allegedly raped the victim several times and threatened to kill her.
Whitaker reportedly confessed to keeping the female victim hostage from around 9:45 p.m. on Feb. 12 until police arrived at the home on Feb. 17.
Finally, court documents outline how after the stabbing, Whitaker took Parker’s 1995 Chevrolet Caprice and left it along long North Broadway, with the keys in the ignition, and Parker’s handgun inside, “in hopes it would be stolen by the homeless in the area.”
He is set to appear in court June 23.