The owner of a livestock show told WJHL on Wednesday he was “shocked” when he found out one of his former employees is now accused of murdering three women.
Josh Ellis, owner of Pony Express in Blountville, spoke with us over the phone and confirmed that James Wright was an employee.
According to Ellis, Wright worked with the company in October and November of last year and was let go because it was the end of the season and they weren’t going to need him in the future.
Ellis also said Wright passed a background check and drug test. He added that the company does both of these checks for everyone because his employees work around children.
Law enforcement revealed this week that Wright was never on their radar because he had no known criminal history.
Over the phone, Ellis said he “barely knew” Wright and was “shocked” when he heard the news about the murder investigation.
Ellis also confirmed that Wright never worked for a company called Drew Exposition.
In an e-mail earlier in the week, Drew Exposition released a statement saying in part, “Mr. Wright was not and has never been an employee of James H. Drew Exposition, nor any associated companies.”
That statement from Drew Exposition also named Wright’s employer as ‘Pony Express’ and said that “Mr. Wright did work from time to time with someone that owns a livestock show called “Pony Express” from Blountville, TN involving horses and other animals that traveled to many fairs, festivals, and racetrack. These animals were at several events we know of in the Southeast.”
That e-mail statement also said that Drew Exposition was continuing to work closely with law enforcement and that they were praying for the families of the victims.