East Nashville neighbors rallying to help murder suspect get legal representation

Douglas Talley is a homeless man known by drivers
Posted at 4:30 PM, Nov 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-07 19:00:55-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A group of people in East Nashville is wanting to help ensure a man wanted for first-degree murder gets proper legal representation, despite his charge.

Pippa Holloway began an effort to help Douglas Talley, who was recently removed from the TBI Most Wanted List, navigate his way through the criminal justice system. With the help of Facebook, she started connecting with other residents who have interacted with Talley.

"I hope who did it is brought to justice, but you always want to make sure the right person is brought to justice," Holloway told NewsChannel 5. "If this does end up going to trial and if he needs a defense we definitely want to talk to people and make sure he's getting adequate representation and use whatever resources we can to support him there."

Talley is accused of killing Etta Etheridge in her Rison Street home in Henry County in 2001, although officials have not released details of how she died. The 18-year-old cold case was reignited thanks to a joint investigation with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Paris Police Department. New evidence and leads ultimately led to Talley as the person responsible for her death, according to the TBI.

The news of his arrest one day after he was added to the state's most wanted list was a big shock to people who viewed him as genuine, loving and joyful. Talley was a homeless man who greeted drivers at the intersection of Woodland Street & 5th Street every morning and occasionally sold newspapers. He was never a vendor for The Contributor.

"He waved to everybody, so you just can't not wave at someone so friendly. He was just our neighborhood guy," described Jessica Wilmoth, an east Nashville resident. "I hope they have the wrong guy because it doesn't match him, it doesn't match his personality."

Catching Talley was not difficult knowing the response on social media. Many voiced their surprise and kind remarks about Talley once his wanted picture was posted.

In a statement, the TBI said, "the public was very helpful in reporting tips when Douglas Talley was added to the Most Wanted list. It was a tip that help officers locate and capture this fugitive."

Toni Thomas said she called Metro police and the TBI after seeing his picture online. She said Talley was a joy to see although is slightly scared knowing he may have committed a heinous crime yet was in plain sight.

"I think what I'm torn with is sadness and disappointment," Thomas said. "I don't know whether he's guilty or not but in thinking of him I have to think of the victims and their families and they have rights and they have people concerned about them also."

Talley was booked into the Davidson County Jail and is awaiting transport back to the Henry County Jail. His bond is set at $250,000.

His criminal record showed he had at least seven arrests in Henry County from 2000 to 2003 which included burglary, drug possession and theft.