NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The suspect sought in a gruesome hatchet killing this week in Tennessee has been arrested in Kentucky.
Metro Nashville Police tweeted Tuesday evening that Kentucky State Police arrested 36-year-old Domenic Micheli, who authorities say attacked and killed his former boss, 46-year-old Joel Paavola, early Monday with a hatchet and another bladed instrument at The Balance Training center in the Nashville area. Police said Paavola was assisting clients with a workout when he was attacked. Paavola had fired Micheli about 14 months ago, police said.
Nashville Police say Micheli was apprehended on I-65 near Bowling Green. They are now en route to Kentucky.
Micheli was found competent last month to stand trial after the U.S. Secret Service arrested him near the White House in April, according to a Washington federal court document.
Police have noted Micheli’s arrest in April for driving to a checkpoint near the White House and refusing directives to move, a misdemeanor trespassing charge.
In that court case, a clinical psychologist with Washington’s behavioral health department last month found Micheli “alert, cooperative, and very pleasant” during an examination, and she could not elicit irrational or delusional ideations or beliefs from him, despite attempts to do so, the May 14 filing states.
The psychologist determined Micheli was currently competent to stand trial, saying that “issues that may have been present around the time of his arrest may have abated,” the document states.
Micheli did give the psychologist “information that could potentially be interpreted as irrational,” but it didn’t significantly interfere with his understanding of court proceedings, the filing says.
In turn, the judge found there was no “reasonable basis” to believe additional mental competency evaluation or another hearing about the topic was warranted at the time.
A May 18 docket entry said Micheli remained in a pretrial halfway house placement in Washington under court orders. That case was still ongoing through Monday’s killing, with a June 14 status conference scheduled.
Micheli had no prior arrests or convictions as of a May 2 court filing by his federal public defender.
Less than two hours after the attack, Micheli limped into an urgent care facility in Gallatin, about 35 miles (55 kilometers) from the Belle Meade community where the attack occurred, according to surveillance photos tweeted by police. He left within five minutes after he was told the center didn’t have suture kits, and pulled out in his older model silver Toyota Prius, police said.
Police say Micheli was limping from a left leg injury.
An hour later, he was spotted on a surveillance camera buying medical items at a Gallatin drug store, police said.
Law enforcement agencies across the region and in other states had been helping Nashville detectives locate Micheli.
Micheli isn’t the only suspect in a recent, high-profile Nashville killing to have run-ins with authorities near the White House.
Travis Reinking, the suspect charged with shooting and killing four people at a Nashville Waffle House in April, was detained by the Secret Service in July after he ventured unarmed into a forbidden area on the White House grounds and demanded to meet President Donald Trump.
Afterward, Illinois state police revoked his state firearms card at the FBI’s request. Four guns, including the AR-15 used in the Waffle House shooting, were transferred to his father, a procedure allowed under Illinois law. The father said he later returned the guns to his son again, police said.
By JONATHAN MATTISE
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