Matthew D. Hall and Micah R. Hill
Two former Kingsport bondsmen have been found guilty on aggravated assault charges stemming from an incident that happened two years ago, when a rubber bullet was fired at a car.
Matthew D. Hall, 28, was found guilty on four counts of aggravated assault and one count of reckless endangerment. Micah R. Hill was convicted on one count of aggravated assault and two counts of attempted assault and one count of reckless endangerment. Jimmy D. Lunceford, who was involved in the incident but not a bondsman, was convicted on one count of facilitation of attempt to commit aggravated assault, two counts of attempted assault and one count of reckless endangerment.
According to Sullivan County Assistant District Attorney Leslie Foglia, on May 24, 2011, the three men pulled an SUV, owned by Ralph Hawkins/Tri-City Bonding, across Ramsey Road in Kingsport. A Cadillac with four people inside was coming around the corner from Peach Orchard Drive to Ramsey Road.
Witnesses testified that when the Cadillac came around the corner, they saw men outside the SUV with guns pointed at the Cadillac. A rubber bullet was fired at the Cadillac, shattering the rear passenger window.
The Cadillac was able to get around the SUV, but Hill jumped inside the SUV and proceeded to chase the Cadillac down Ramsey Road. Hall then struck the car, forcing it off the road, witnesses said.
Hall and Hill testified they were licensed bondsman and were trying to apprehend a person who skipped out on bail and they believed that person to be in the Cadillac. While the person they were after was in the Cadillac, three other individuals who were not fugitives were also in the car.
Lunceford, who is a convicted felon, said he was with the pair to observe and be a witness, but witnesses who testified for the state said he was holding a gun outside of the Cadillac, Foglia said.
The law that applied to this case is Tennessee code annotated section 39-11-621, which states, “A private citizen, in making an arrest authorized by law, may use force reasonably necessary to accomplish the arrest of an individual who flees or resists the arrest; provided that a private citizen cannot use or threaten to use deadly force except to the extent authorized under self-defense or defense of third person statutes, §§ 39-11-611 and 39-11-612.”
The trial took place last week, and the jury returned its verdict on Aug. 8.