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Tennessee: Lawyer accused of rape reportedly kills himself

September 11, 2020 GMT

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — A defense attorney who fled rape charges in Tennessee apparently killed himself when confronted by law enforcement officers in Alabama, authorities said Friday.

David Whelan, 49, “reportedly produced a weapon and shot himself” as officers approached him in Mobile, Alabama, on Thursday, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation tweeted. The bureau didn’t say which police agency confronted Whelan.

“That set of events remains under investigation by authorities,” the agency said.

Whelan, who practiced criminal defense law in Murfreesboro, failed to appear in court on Sept. 4 on eight counts of rape, one count of aggravated rape, one count of statutory rape by an authority figure, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated kidnapping and promoting prostitution.

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The Daily News Journal reported that Jennings was accused of coercing female clients into sex as a way to repay their attorney fees. He also was charged in March with raping a teen babysitter, who later escaped and called 911, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office said.