Capital murder suspect pleads ‘not guilty’ in Walmart shooting

William Thomas “Tommy” Chisholm stands with his attorney Mark Williamson during an arraignment hearing in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court on Tuesday (Photo by Ryan Phillips, SDN)


A Kosciusko man accused of capital murder and other charges after the shooting death of a Starkville optometrist pleaded not guilty on two felony charges during a brief live arraignment hearing in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court on Tuesday.

William Thomas “Tommy” Chisholm, 41, was joined by his attorney Mark Williamson, but said nothing past his pleas of not guilty in front of Circuit Judge Lee Howard.

Howard reiterated that Chisholm, who has a history of domestic violence and mental illness, would remain held without bond for the capital offense and set his trial date for Oct. 15, 2018.

Chisholm was indicted by the grand jury on June 26, with the two-count indictment being served on July 6 ahead of the July circuit court term. 

Chisholm is accused of killing 42-year-old Dr. Shauna Witt at her optometry practice at the Walmart on Highway 12 on Jan. 13. The aggravated assault charge stems from a bystander, Kaylace Beatty, who was shot through the jacket, but uninjured during the incident. 

Police initially arrested Chisholm for murder, but police cited an underlying burglary charge as the reason he was charged with capital murder. 

Chisholm is currently being held in the Oktibbeha County Jail without bond for the capital murder charge, but bond for the aggravated assault charge was set at $100,000. 

The Starkville Daily News previously reported that Chisholm and Witt had been in an “on-again, off-again” relationship.

On the morning on Jan. 13, investigators say Chisholm entered Walmart, where Witt’s practice was located, and shot her twice with a Springfield .9 mm pistol. 

Chisholm was detained by officers in the parking lot of the store, as Witt was transported to OCH Regional Medical Center. She was pronounced dead shortly after 10 a.m. that morning.