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Kingsport woman sentenced to time served for federal firearms crimes

Matthew Lane • Aug 8, 2014 at 12:47 AM

KINGSPORT — A 37-year-old Kingsport woman, involved in a police chase and shootout with a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper in January of last year, will not have to spend any more time in prison for her involvement in the crime, a federal judge ruled this week.

Jennifer Russell was indicted in U.S. District Court in Greeneville in January 2013 on a 12-count indictment. The charges include providing a firearm to a convicted felon and making false statements to a firearms distributor.

According to court records, Russell purchased three firearms for Derrick Dakota Kitzmiller of Gray in December 2012 and a month later was with him when he was involved in a chase and shootout with a THP trooper.

Kitzmiller received a 210-month prison sentence in July for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Russell pleaded guilty to two of the false statement charges and appeared in court on Monday for sentencing. Judge Ronnie Greer gave Russell credit for time served (four months) and ruled that she must be on supervised release for three years.

Greer also ordered Russell to participate in a mental health evaluation and treatment program.

According to court records, Kitzmiller and Russell went to Mahoney's Sportsman's Paradise in Johnson City on Dec. 16, 2012, and purchased three pistols — a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber, a Bersa .380 caliber and a Sig Sauer .22 caliber.

Russell completed all three Firearm Transaction Record forms, listing an incorrect address and describing herself as the actual buyer of the weapons, when in fact she was not. The couple used Kitzmiller's grandfather's bank card to purchase the weapons, some ammunition and a holster.

On Jan. 3, 2013, the couple were involved in a police chase and shootout with a THP trooper in Washington County and were eventually apprehended and arrested.

According to published media reports, Kitzmiller was on Interstate 81 operating some type of blue flashing light on Russell's vehicle, which caused other drivers to think they were being pulled over. The lights alerted a THP trooper to Kitzmiller's erratic driving.

When the trooper attempted to stop the vehicle, Kitzmiller sped up and continued onto Interstate 26, to Eastern Star Road and eventually to Hog Hollow Road where he lost control in a curve, ran off the road and hit two trees.

As the trooper exited his vehicle, Kitzmiller fired one of the pistol at him.

In an interview with investigators, Russell said she knew Kitzmiller was on probation and had prior drug charges, saying he bought the pistols to teach her how to shoot.

Kitzmiller has previous felony convictions of attempting to obtain narcotics by fraud (two counts), for which he received a two-year prison sentence, and identity theft, receiving a three-year prison sentence.

Following his arrest, Kitzmiller was indicted in state court on attempted first-degree murder, felony evading with risk of death, reckless endangerment, criminal impersonation, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, driving on a suspended license with a prior DUI and speeding 110 miles per hour in a 70 mph zone.

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