A Tennessee man allegedly killed his 76-year-old mother over the weekend and asked his co-workers to take pictures of him at work to help form an alibi, according to police.
John Ralph, 51, was attempting to flee the country on Saturday when U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and the U.S. Marshals Service cornered him at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, nearly 300 miles from the Tennessee home he shared with his mother.
He was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Edith Betty Ralph, who, he’d said repeatedly, was “driving him crazy.”
“Ralph lived with his mother and had already made numerous statements to friends and family that his mother was driving him crazy,” the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said in statement.
Police discovered the woman’s body on Saturday at their shared home in northeast Tennessee. She died from severe head trauma and several gunshot wounds, police said.
John Ralph previously had asked co-workers to photograph him at work in case something “happened to his mother.”
“The night of Mrs. Ralph’s murder, John ask co-workers to take pictures of him at work saying that if anything happened to his mother he would need an alibi,” the sheriff’s office said.
Police in Carter County, Tennessee, where the Ralphs lived, said they were proud of authorities’ quick work in capturing the suspect.
“We quickly found evidence that led us to suspect John Ralph,” County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford told the local news outlet, Johnson City Press. “We learned that he had purchased an airline ticket for Amsterdam that departed Atlanta at 10:20 that evening. … I don’t even know if we have extradition with Amsterdam.”
John Ralph is being held in Georgia on a $1 million bond and awaits extradition to Tennessee. It’s unclear if he’s obtained an attorney.