DA: New prosecutor appointed to Knibbs case


Davin Eldridge – Staff Writer

Ashley Welch, District Attorney for the 30th Judicial District, recently announced that a new prosecutor will be handling the case of Michael Scott Knibbs—a Macon County man who was allegedly shot to death by a sheriff’s deputy earlier this spring. Welch said in a July 2 press release that she received the State Bureau of Investigation’s report on the officer involved shooting death of Knibbs that occurred on April 29. Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland said the victim was armed and confrontational with the officer upon his arrival. “The deputy gave repeated commands to drop the weapon,” said Holland. “The suspect took aggressive action toward the deputy, prompting the deputy to discharge his weapon in self-defense, which struck and killed the suspect.” Holland said the deputy gave Knibbs several commands to put down his weapon. Instead, the sheriff said the suspect, “made an aggressive action toward my officer, at which time, in a self-defense manner, discharged his firearm, striking the individual.” Prior to receiving the SBI’s report, Welch said she met with both the Knibbs family as well as their counsel to hear their concerns. After reviewing the SBI’s findings, Welch resolved to seek out another state prosecutor to review the investigation “out of an abundance of caution and out of respect to all parties involved in this matter.” She ultimately chose Henderson County’s Greg Newman, of Prosecutorial District 29B. Welch said the neighboring DA “graciously agreed to manage any and all prosecutorial decisions in this case.” While the Knibbs family declined to make a statement on Welch’s decision, their attorney Mark Melrose released a statement after the family retained his services. “Scott worked in construction, and was married to his wife, Missy, for 25 years. He had no criminal record. He had nothing but respect for law enforcement. In fact, Scott had graduated from Basic Law Enforcement Training at Southwestern Community College in the 1990’s. Scott and his family attended Cullasaja Assembly of God for the past 25 years. “This was apparently a complaint made by the neighbors who were renting a house next door. There was a high volume of traffic going up to the neighbor’s house at all hours. Contrary to initial reports of spiked boards in the roadway, the boards were actually speed bumps placed in the common roadway to slow visitors down as they passed the Knibbs home due to the children who frequently played in the front yard.” Sheriff Robert Holland stated the following: “I believe in our system but I know It can sometimes be confusing and difficult to understand. Thus far the process has gone exactly as I would have expected it to go. Following her review of the SBI investigation the elected District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch has now announced the next step in this process. Once again I fully expected her to make this call at the appropriate time… which only should be after her initial and thorough review of the investigation. “I look forward to hearing the findings of the SBI investigation following the reviews by both District Attorneys Ashley Welch & Greg Newman. “As I stated on the night of the incident, our thoughts and prayers continue to remain with the Knibbs family & their friends along with the deputy involved and all who have been affected by this tragic event.”