Intended target of sniper back in court on drug charges

Jeff Bobo • Aug 28, 2013 at 8:19 PM

ROGERSVILLE — The intended victim in the 2008 Rogersville Walmart sniper shooting in which an innocent bystander was fatally shot was back before a judge to answer drug possession charges.

Joshua Lynn Hinkle, 23, 131 Dogwood Lane, Lot 5, Whitesburg, pleaded guilty Monday in Hawkins County Sessions Court to charges including simple possession of marijuana, simple possession of Schedule III narcotics, simple possession of Schedule IV narcotics, possession of drug paraphernalia — two sets of scales — as well as driving without insurance and incorrect address on his driver's license.

Hinkle was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days of supervised probation, fined a total of $2,010, and ordered to serve 96 hours of community service.

On Dec. 9, 2008, Hinkle was the intended target of Ronald Eugene Brewer, who was 19 at the time. From an elevated position overlooking the Rogersville Walmart parking lot on Route 66, Brewer admittedly aimed and fired at Hinkle, but instead shot and killed innocent bystander Jackson B. Sellers, 18, with a .22-caliber rifle.

Hinkle, who was an admitted member of the “Bloods” gang at the time of the shooting, appeared before a judge on drug charges in 2010 and stated he had given up a life of drugs and gangs due to his child being born.

On April 19, Hinkle was stopped at a Tennessee Highway Patrol checkpoint on Route 66, at which time the arresting trooper reported smelling marijuana.

When asked if he had anything illegal in the vehicle, Hinkle reportedly gave the trooper a foil wrapper containing two pills, a Buprenorphine pill and a Clonazepam pill.

The trooper also found two sets of scales in the vehicle, and although Hinkle initially denied being in possession of any marijuana, when asked about it a second time he allegedly removed a bag of marijuana that had been concealed in his underwear.

Two additional marijuana joints were then found in the ashtray of the vehicle.

The motive for the 2008 shooting was reported as an ongoing dispute between Hinkle and Brewer’s co-defendant in the shooting, Travis Lee Goins, over unpaid restitution from a car accident. Hinkle was identified as the target in testimony from both Goins and Brewer during Brewer’s 2010 trial.

The dispute escalated as a result of a verbal altercation in the Walmart parking lot that preceded the shooting.

Brewer was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole.

Goins pleaded guilty to facilitation of first-degree murder and was sentenced to 51 years.

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