Judge increases charge to murder in police officer's slaying

The charge against a man accused of killing a police officer in eastern Tennessee has been increased to first-degree murder.

Police had charged 44-year-old Brian Keith Stalans with criminal homicide in the death of 32-year-old Maryville Police Officer Kenny Moats, who was fatally shot as he responded to a domestic disturbance on Aug. 25.

Media report Blount County General Sessions Judge William Brewer increased the charge Thursday after a preliminary hearing. The case will now be sent to a grand jury.

Blount County Sheriff's Office Deputy David Mendez, who was with Moats, testified that Stalans began shooting at them from the garage of a home without warning.

Stalans had been charged with assault for firing at his father and Mendez. The judge increased that to attempted murder.