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Man who hit former boss with hammer to steal gun gets eight years

Jeff Bobo • Jun 26, 2017 at 7:30 PM

ROGERSVILLE — A Hawkins County man who hit his former employer over the head with a hammer and stole a gun earlier this year after the employer had tried to help him financially was sentenced Thursday to eight years in exchange for an aggravated robbery guilty plea.

As a violent offender, Joseph Christopher Baker, 31, of Church Hill, won't be eligible for parole until he serves 85 percent of the sentence.

On the morning of March 31, Martin Holtzclaw, of Holtzclaw Guttering in Mount Carmel, told police he had previously helped out Baker financially by purchasing a firearm from Baker for $500 with the understanding that Baker could buy the gun back if he came up with the money.

Baker reportedly contacted Holtzclaw the previous day stating he wanted to buy the gun back and would meet Holtzclaw the morning of March 31 at Holtzclaw's business to make the exchange.

Upon arriving, Baker reportedly asked Holtzclaw to let him see the gun. Once he had the gun Baker struck Holtzclaw in the head with a ball-peen hammer and fled in a black SUV.

Baker was later arrested at the residence of a female acquaintance in Kingsport.

At the time of the robbery, Baker had also been wanted for domestic violence by the the Hawkins County Sheriff's Office since January.

Baker, 31, was also fined $450 and ordered to pay his former boss $1,200 in restitution.

Other guilty pleas heard by Judge John Dugger in June included:

* Jamie Lynn Seal, 45, 8533 Route 66-N, Sneedville, who was sentenced Friday to three years and fined $2,500 for delivery of meth and maintaining a dwelling where narcotics are sold. He was ordered to report to the Hawkins County Jail on July 3.

* Tonya Michelle Seal, 30, 8533 Route 66-N, Sneedville, who was sentenced Friday to three years and fined $2,500 for delivery of meth and maintaining a dwelling where narcotics are sold. She was arraigned Friday. She was ordered to report to the Hawkins County Jail on July 3.

* Christopher Monroe Buchman, 36, 428 Early Branch Road, Church Hill, who was sentenced Friday to six years and fined $600 for aggravated burglary and simple possession of marijuana. He was ordered to report to the Hawkins County Jail on July 3.

* Nicholas Wade Short, 27, 2578 Clinch Valley Road, Treadway, who was sentenced Friday to two years and one day of house arrest and fined $2,000 for facilitation of delivery of meth.

* Timothy Jacob Gardner, 33, 1001 Union St., Apt. A7, Kingsport, who was sentenced Thursday to 180 days in jail, 11 months and 29 days of probation and fined $750 for simple possession of meth.

* Mark R. Phillips, 24, 1000 University Blvd., Apt. A-49, Kingsport, who was sentenced Thursday to 90 days in jail, 11 months and 29 days on probation and fined $350 for domestic assault.

* Coy Allen McMurray, 40, no address available, who was sentenced Thursday to two years and one day and fined $2,000 for promotion of meth manufacturing.

* Ronald Adam Hart, 30, of Meadowview, Va., who was sentenced on June 9 to three years and fined $4,910 for possession of meth with intent to deliver, promoting the manufacture of meth, possession of drug paraphernalia, simple possession of Schedule III narcotics and possession of legend drugs.

* Michael Lynn Johnson, 22, 732 Walker Church Road, Bulls Gap, who was sentenced June 9 to eight years probation, fined $800 and ordered to pay $16,813 in restitution for arson and vandalism over $10,000.

* Christopher David Graybeal, 37, no address available, who was sentenced June 9 to one year, fined $600 and ordered to pay $1,431 in restitution for fraudulent use of a credit card over $1,000 and three counts of forgery.

* On Friday, Donnie Edward Lyons, 58, 203 Gilda Ave., Church Hill, appeared before Dugger on a probation revocation petition for failure to begin paying restitution. On Feb. 27, Edwards was sentenced to six years probation and ordered to pay his elderly victim $12,339 in restitution in exchange for a guilty plea to one count of home improvement fraud, a class C felony.

Edwards was ordered to appear before Dugger in Rogersville again on Aug 31 with an attorney. Edwards was also strongly admonished by Dugger to begin making restitution payments or face the possibility of serving his full six-year sentence incarcerated.                                                                                                                      

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