Murfreesboro attorney on most wanted list shoots himself dead after authorities confront him over rape charges

David Whelan, a Rutherford County attorney who skipped court after being indicted on charges of rape, was found by law enforcement authorities but killed himself after a confrontation

                            Murfreesboro attorney on most wanted list shoots himself dead after authorities confront him over rape charges
David Whelan (TBI)

MOBILE: ALABAMA: David Whelan, a fugitive on a most wanted list, reportedly killed himself after being indicted on rape charges, according to authorities. The Rutherford County attorney was wanted by state and local authorities for skipping court after he was indicted. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) stated that Whelan was found in Mobile, Alabama, on Thursday, September 10. TBI further reported that upon confrontation, Whelan produced a weapon which he then used to kill himself.

TBI, in a Twitter thread, that began on September 4 stated, "NEWS ALERT: Law enforcement located Most Wanted fugitive David Whelan in Mobile, Alabama, yesterday. When confronted by officers, Whelan reportedly produced a weapon and shot himself, resulting in his death. That set of events remains under investigation by authorities in AL."

Prior to this, the agency had also shared new pictures of the attorney on September 10 in order to find Whelan and said, "NEW PICS: In our ongoing search for David Whelan, we’re releasing new pictures, as he may have changed his appearance. One is believed to be from the last day he was seen, and the others are of his dog, which he is believed to have with him. Spot him? Call 1-800-TBI-FIND!"

The first tweet regarding Whelan was shared on September 4, through which the TBI shared, "#FugitiveFriday: We need your help to locate David Whelan. The Murfreesboro man failed to appear in court earlier this week on charges including Aggravated Rape and Statutory Rape by an Authority Figure. Spot him? Know where he maybe? Call 1-800-TBI-FIND!"


On September 5, Whelan was added to the Statewide #MostWanted list and TBI also said that any information that led to Whelan's capture would be appreciated with a prize money of $2,500. The 49-year-old's rape charges involved Whelan's teen babysitter and other clients.

According to records, Whelan was expected to appear for plea hearings on October 1 before Judge David Bragg for various charges that included — eight counts of rape, one count of aggravated rape, two counts of aggravated sexual battery by an authority figure, two counts of aggravated sexual battery, one count of statutory rape by an authority figure, one count of aggravated kidnapping and one count of promoting prostitution.

On March 27, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Detective Derrick McCullough had charged Whelan with aggravated rape and aggravated kidnapping of a teenager. On March 30, Whelan was released after paying a bond of $13,000, according to a spokesperson Lisa Marchesoni. The teenager is reportedly the babysitter of Wheelan's daughter who was assaulted at Whelan's home, but she had managed to escape and call 911.

The other charges against Whelan were a result of an investigation that began with a request from District Attorney General Jennings Jones and an investigation that was conducted since February 2019. In June, Whelan was indicted by the grand jury and according to a press release from TBI, "During the course of the investigation, agents developed information indicating that David Whelan forced or coerced female clients into sex as a way to re-pay their attorney fees."

The grand jury returned indictments by charging Whelan with four counts of rape by fraud, four counts of rape by coercion and one count of promoting prostitution. On June 16, he was booked with TBI's charges and on July 15, he was released after paying a bond of $75,000.

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