published Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Wife tells jury of violent attack by her former husband

Shannon Ory, first charged with kidnapping his wife Kristina Speights, then with trying to hire someone to kill her then with stalking her appears before a jury in Judge Don Poole's courtroom Tuesday.
Shannon Ory, first charged with kidnapping his wife Kristina Speights, then with trying to hire someone to kill her then with stalking her appears before a jury in Judge Don Poole's courtroom Tuesday.
Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The ex-wife of a Louisiana man recalled brutal details of an alleged vicious assault in Hamilton County by her former husband during his trial Tuesday on attempted murder and kidnapping charges.

While on the stand, Kristina Speights, 42, recounted the Dec. 16, 2009, attack that left her with a broken eye socket and nose.

The trial for her ex-husband, 44-year-old Shannon Ory, is scheduled to resume this morning in Criminal Court Judge Don Poole's courtroom.

The woman and mother of two children by Ory said that she was backing her Chevrolet Tahoe out of the driveway of her father's Old Hunter Road home when she saw garbage bags strewn across her path.

The couple of 13 years had separated in October and Ory had stayed in their shared home in the 6700 block of Flag Crest Drive.

As she got out of the car to move the bags, a masked man rushed from the treeline and grabbed her from behind. The man punched, kicked and choked her and then tried, three times, to hold her beneath her SUV and drive it over her.

"I asked him why he was doing that to me and why he wanted to do that to the children," she testified Tuesday.

She was able to get away and run across the street.

Her attacker, who she testified was Ory, fled.

Police went to Ory's house and found the driveway and back porch wet, when it hadn't rained. He was flushed and sweating. Deputies found a purple Minnesota Vikings jersey in his bedroom with Speights' blood on the sleeve.

But Ory's attorney, Ben McGowan, said in court that his client is the victim of a set-up. During Speights' testimony, he picked apart her three different statements to police and medical workers.

In his opening statement, McGowan told the jury, "You're going to hear in the course of this trial and ever-evolving story from [Speights] on what happened in this case."

A woman named Brandy Thomas later told police she picked up Ory, with whom she was having an affair, after the alleged attack, prosecutor Lance Pope said during opening statements.

While in jail on the attempted murder and kidnapping charges, prosecutors also claim that Ory tried to hire a fellow inmate to kill Speights.

He was indicted on that charge in June 2010.

A week before his scheduled November 2011 trial on the current charges, Speights called Davidson County police when she saw Ory waiting outside her workplace. He fled the scene and was later charged with stalking.

Police found Ory in Texas and he was later transported to Tennessee for this trial. He faces a separate trial on the murder-for-hire charge. Evidence of that charge and the alleged stalking incident in Davidson County cannot be disclosed to jurors in this trial under court procedure.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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