Husband of slain Green Hills dental assistant found dead in Ky.
June 4, 2012 9:17 PM CDT
Gilbert Pearsall, 51, was the primary suspect in the murder of Vickie Pearsall. He was found dead Monday afternoon near Paducah.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
The estranged husband of a Green Hills dental assistant shot and killed Monday morning was found dead just a few hours later in Kentucky from apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Nashville police said Gilbert Pearsall, 51, was the primary suspect in the murder of 48-year-old Vickie Pearsall at the dentist office on Crestmoor Road where she worked.
Detectives had been searching for Pearsall since the murder.
Vickie Pearsall's employer, Dr. John Williams, found her body on the floor behind her desk just after 7 a.m.
A patient had entered the office just prior to Williams, but did not see Pearsall. The area where her body was found is not accessible to patients, police said.
Kentucky State Police report that law enforcement in the Paducah area were on the lookout for a silver Mercedes that had been involved in a hit-and-run accident on Interstate 24.
Troopers came upon the car, a 2000 CL500, on the side of the highway and discovered Gilbert Pearsall dead inside.
Trooper Dean Patterson told Nashville's News 2 Pearsall shot himself before he and other troopers arrived on the scene at 12:15 p.m.
"There were no witnesses," Patterson said.
Kentucky State Police said evidence linking Gilbert Pearsall to the crime, including personal items belonging to Vickie Pearsall, was recovered at the scene.
The Mercedes also matches the description of a vehicle witnesses saw near the Heritage Medical Associates building around the time of the murder.
The building houses an estimated half-dozen medical offices in the affluent Nashville neighborhood of Green Hills.
The building was shut down for several hours Monday while police conducted their investigation.
Some employees were sent home, some appointments were canceled, but later many patients had returned to other offices in the building.
"It's shocking," said patient Pam Grasman after she arrived for a late morning appointment with another doctor in the building. "I walk right by the dentist's office where the murder occurred."
"I don't live very far away," she continued. "I have never heard of anything like this happening around here."
According to court documents, Gilbert Pearsall has a history of domestic violence and a divorce between the couple was pending.
Gilbert Pearsall was convicted of domestic assault and stalking in June of 2009 and served nearly one year in jail for a fight in which he threatened Vickie's life with a shotgun and nearly strangled her, according to the affidavit.
The document quoted Gilbert Pearsall as saying, "I don't have anything to lose. I'll kill you and then myself."
More recently, in October of 2011, Gilbert Pearsall was arrested for allegedly beating his wife at her home in the Bellevue Manor subdivision off Highway 70S in Bellevue.
At the time, Vickie Pearsall told officers her husband was upset because she had been talking to a divorce attorney, but those charges later dropped.
Vickie Pearsall filed for divorce four days later. The divorce was still pending when police say Pearsall shot his wife.
Neighbors in the Bellevue Manor subdivision were surprised to hear about the history of domestic violence at the Pearsall's home.
"They were actually the quietest people in the neighborhood," neighbor Charwan Houghland said. "She seemed to be kind of shy."
The Houghlands' said they were not sure if the couple had children. They said they did not see kids around the home.
"She kept to herself," Houghland said. "He would say hi when he went to get the mail and stuff, but they typically kept to themselves."
"It is certainly a tragedy," Donna Dant with the YWCA said. "It just resonates how important the services we provide for the community are a safe, like a safe place to stay."
Tennessee ranks fifth in the nation for women who are killed by men.
According to the TBI more than 50% of crimes against persons were tied to domestic incidents.
The YWCA runs a crisis line for people who may need help getting out of a violent relationship. For more information, call 615-242-1199.