A Memphis man has confessed to the murder of an off-duty firefighter after claiming the man propositioned him and his girlfriend for sex, according to Fox 13 Memphis.
Carlton Wells, 25, told arresting police officers he shot and killed Mack Bond, 58, at Kennedy Park in Memphis last week because the firefighter’s flirtations made him feel uncomfortable. Wells faces charges of second-degree murder and a convicted felon in possession of a handgun. Also arrested was his girlfriend, Danielle Mack, 39, for tampering with evidence.
"The Memphis Fire Department are deeply saddened to hear of the sudden and tragic off-duty death of firefighter Mack C. Bond," said Chief Gina Sweat in a statement. "Mack faithfully served as a member of this department for over twenty-one years and was a valued member of our MFD family. He will be greatly missed."
According to his statements to Memphis Police, Wells waived his Miranda right to remain silent and freely confessed to the murder. He told police he was sitting with Mack in a rented car in Kennedy Park, a well-known gay cruising area, when Bond parked alongside them. He claims Bond propositioned the couple for sex, which made him feel uncomfortable so he shot the firefighter multiple times. Bond died at the scene.
Following the shooting, Mack drove the car to the Memphis Airport Avis where it had been rented. She exchanged it for a new car, claiming the one used in the murder had transmission problems.
Currently, there are no laws in effect in Tennessee that would prevent Wells from using the gay panic defense, which claims the victim's sexuality is to blame for triggering an asssailant's blind rage. The discredited legal tactic has been banned outright in 11 states according to The LGBT Bar.
Meanwhile, Memphis is mourning the loss of one of their own.
“I’m speechless. He was a great firefighter,” Joe Norman of the Memphis Firefighters Association is quoted by WTLV. “I worked with him many times. He was always outgoing, energetic and happy.”
“Our sincere condolences are extended to his family, friends and the brothers and sisters of the Memphis Fire Department,” Chief Sweat said. “RIP Mack Bond."