Mental evaluation ordered for man described by RPD as 'habitual problem'

Jeff Bobo • Updated Sep 18, 2017 at 11:54 AM

ROGERSVILLE — A Rogersville man with a history of violence and mental problems was in Hawkins County Sessions Court Wednesday accused of threatening to slit the throats of two hairdressers in the beauty salon downstairs from his apartment.

Joseph “Joey” Severio Gullo, 32, 3921 Highway 66-S, was arraigned on charges including disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing.

Rogersville Police Department Assistant Chief Travis Fields told the Times-News Friday that Gullo is also being sent for a mental evaluation — not his first — and this also isn’t the first time police have been called to deal with his violent behavior.

Gullo has eight previous arrests in Rogersville dating back to 2005, three of which were for assault, three were drug-related, one for public intoxication and one for criminal trespass.

Most recently, in July of 2015, Gullo was charged with five counts of assault on police, who went to his home to serve a probation violation warrant. Police said Gullo was “impervious to Tasers” and he pushed one officer through a glass door.

At the time of his 2015 arrest, police stated in a report that Gullo was “an emotionally disturbed person, and a psychological examination was ordered.”

Fields said Friday that Gullo isn’t a problem when he takes his medication, but when he stops taking it, his behavior gradually becomes more and more erratic and violent.

Employees and customers at Jena’s Expert Hair had reported in recent weeks they could hear Gullo in his upstairs apartment cursing, screaming and making violent threats.

An eviction notice was served last month, and Sept. 5 was the day Gullo had to be out of the apartment.

Rogersville police were dispatched to Jena’s that day around 10 a.m. after Gullo allegedly came to the business and tried to get in the door.

Gullo had been banned from the property Aug. 28 after allegedly threatening to slit one hairdresser’s throat.

Fields said that between Aug. 28 and Sept. 5, Jena’s Hair Salon called in several complaints about Gullo coming to the business trying to get in the door, cursing at customers and causing a disturbance.

Following his arrest, police searched Gullo’s apartment and found four large knifes and a sword.

“I’ve been in this business for 25 years, and I can tell you that a lot of the time a mental evaluation is a ploy or a legal maneuver, and it isn’t really needed,” Fields said. “In the case of Mr. Gullo, it’s needed. He needs long-term treatment. We’ve sent him off three or four times for mental evaluations, the judge has sent him off in the past for mental evaluations, and they keep sending him back. He’ll get on his medication for awhile and does good, and they send him home. Then he stops taking his medication, and the downhill slide starts all over.”

Fields added, “He was coming into the beauty salon and threatening to cut their throats and screaming at the top of his lungs from his apartment. Imagine trying to cut hair, and all you’re hearing upstairs all day is, ‘I’m going to kill you. I’m going to cut your throat.’ That would make it hard to do your job, and that’s what they were dealing with on a daily basis. They recorded it and we could hear every word he said through the walls.”

Gullo was apparently very irate about being evicted.

“He’s just a habitual problem for us,” Fields said. “I do know they’ve sent him back for a mental evaluation again, and hopefully he’s going to get the help he needs.”                                                    

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