Police: N.C. Insurance Man Shot Partners Because of Business Dispute

December 29, 2005

The president of a small North Carolina insurance agency accused of shooting his two partners was upset because they wanted to sell the business, authorities said.

James T. Tedesco, 37, has been charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder and remained in the Buncombe County jail as of Dec. 28.

Asheville police Lt. Wallace Welch said Murray Wilson and Michael Ezell told Tedesco at a Dec. 26 morning meeting at Tedesco Insurance Agency that they planned to sell the business and criticized his management.

“They wanted out,” Welch said. “They wanted out of their investment and they wanted that business sold.”

Wilson declined to talk about his business dealings or what he and Ezell discussed with Tedesco, but said Tedesco didn’t like what he and Ezell had to say.

“He got up and started walking around, said he just can’t believe he’s losing everything he worked so hard for,” Wilson said.

Wilson said Tedesco then pulled out a handgun and shot him and Ezell several times in their abdomens and arms. Ezell was also shot in the head.

Wilson, 53, of Black Mountain, drove himself to Mission Hospitals after crawling up a staircase and into his car. He was treated and released the same day.

People from an upstairs office drove Ezell, 33, of Waynesville, to the hospital. He remained there, but no additional information about his condition was available, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Tedesco made his first court appearance Tuesday. Judge Patricia Young said during a short hearing that Tedesco could be sentenced to up to nearly 40 years in jail for each charge. Tedesco requested a court-appointed attorney during the hearing.

Tedesco’s agency, formed in 1998, had been awarded growth awards in 2001 and 2003 from the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, said Jane Anderson, vice president of member services and communications.

“(Tedesco) was always polite, always soft-spoken,” Wilson said. “Personally, until he shot me, I liked him.”

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