FINCASTLE — A 20-year-old Botetourt County man pleaded guilty Thursday to unlawful wounding after a shooting and stabbing in Troutville this summer.
Tyler Lanse Tatum-Wheetley was arrested July 11 after deputies responded to a house on the 300 block of Tucker Road just after 10 p.m. on reports of gunshots and yelling.
Tatum-Wheetley initially was charged with malicious wounding but took a plea deal on a reduced charge of unlawful wounding, which carries a maximum sentence of five years. Matthew Taylor Green, 20, also was arrested after the incident on two counts of malicious wounding. He is still awaiting trial, which has been set for March 7 in Botetourt County Circuit Court.
In July, deputies found Jacob Hale with a stab wound in his stomach and a life-threatening injury to his leg in the kitchen of the home he shared with Tatum-Wheetley and Green, Commonwealth’s Attorney John Alexander said.
A deputy placed a tourniquet on Hale’s leg and he was sent to a nearby hospital. Hale required nine staples to repair the injuries.
Multiple witnesses affirmed there was a verbal argument between Tatum-Wheetley and Hale, Alexander said in court Thursday. Green told Hale to leave the house with his girlfriend, and Tatum-Wheetley followed the two out of the house and recorded the scene on his cellphone. As they were leaving, the three continued to argue until Hale turned back around and pushed Tatum-Wheetley.
Tatum-Wheetley later told deputies that he thought Hale was going to fight him, so he pulled out his knife. He described the stab on Hale’s stomach as a “kiss” because it barely grazed him.
Tatum-Wheetley went back into the house and Hale and his girlfriend followed him into the kitchen. The two continued to argue and Hale and his girlfriend kicked and hit Tatum-Wheetley, defense attorney Stephen Wills said.
“There was a lot of blood on the scene, but we believe that was mostly from my client,” Wills said.
Wills argued that the three young men were lifelong friends and that it was Hale who initiated the altercation by pushing Tatum-Wheetley.
During the fight, Green shot his firearm twice. Deputies initially thought Hale had been shot in the leg, but doctors later ruled the injury was from a knife. It is unclear whether Green’s shots hit anyone else.
Judge Joel Branscom set a $2,000 bond for Tatum-Wheetley, who will be sentenced March 12.