ROGERSVILLE — A Rogersville man who reportedly collected more than $37,000 in an extortion scheme was sentenced to two years and one day in prison Friday and ordered to pay full restitution by Circuit Judge John Dugger.
Justin Richard Lynn Housewright, 22, 626 Vista Drive, Rogersville, was arrested in July after his victim contacted police and set up a sting.
Housewright had reportedly extorted payments from the victim, whose identity wasn’t released by authorities, based on a promise he wouldn’t go to authorities with accusations against the victim that would result in the victim’s arrest.
“This was first reported to the Rogersville Police Department, who then called the DA’s office,” Assistant Attorney General Doug Godbee said. “The DA’s investigators and the TBI (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation) worked together on the case, they wired the victim, and then they monitored while the victim met to give Mr. Housewright another payment. Mr. Housewright started this by telling the victim, ‘I will call the police and accuse you of something really bad if you don’t pay me money.’
“Mr. Housewright told the victim he’d tell the police he’d abused him. He (Housewright) said in his (police) statement he’d lied about it, but the victim was afraid of what these allegations might do (to his reputation) and paid him seven different times before reporting it to us.”
Among the other guilty pleas heard by Dugger on Friday were:
• Anthony Ray Gaines, 25, formerly of 1099 Old Union Road, Church Hill, was sentenced to 12 years in prison in exchange for guilty pleas to two counts of attempted aggravated child abuse. He will be eligible for parole after serving 30 percent of his sentence.
Gaines was originally indicted on two counts of aggravated child abuse in February 2007 in connection with injuries to a 3-month-old child that occurred in May 2006. Among the child’s injuries were a skull fracture, brain injuries, a broken right clavicle and six broken ribs. According to reports the injuries occurred at Gaines’ church.
• Larry Dale Dykes, 39, 1494 Christian Bend Road, Church Hill, was sentenced to 12 years in prison in exchange for a guilty plea to attempted second-degree murder for his part in the March 24, 2007, stabbing death of Jeffery Allen McNally.
Dykes’ co-defendant, William “Steve” Derrick, 36, 280 Dykes Road, Church Hill, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Oct. 14 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Derrick, who delivered the fatal knife wound, must serve 100 percent of the sentence while Dykes will be eligible for parole after serving 30 percent of his sentence.
• An arrest warrant was issued for Joseph Craig Fortenberry, 22, 2130 Whitehouse Road, Greeneville. Fortenberry failed to appear in Hawkins County Circuit Court on Friday. Fortenberry was indicted earlier this year on charges including aggravated assault, felony evading arrest and driving on a suspended license stemming from an incident that occurred on Nov. 3.
Fortenberry and his teenage passenger were shot by police during a high speed pursuit after Fortenberry — blocked in at a dead end — allegedly turned the car on officers and accelerated.
• An arrest warrant was issued for Jason Daniel Lee Hart, 28, 3224 Van Horn St., Kingsport. Hart failed to appear in Hawkins County Circuit Court. Hart is charged with possession of Schedule III drugs for resale, possession of Schedule II drugs for resale, violation of the Tennessee Drug Control Act and unlawful possession of a weapon.