Man accused of stealing from Sevierville rehab facility, taken back to Hawkins jail

Jeff Bobo • Feb 26, 2014 at 11:21 PM

ROGERSVILLE — A man with multiple felony convictions and a long arrest record in Hawkins County dating back more than a decade was offered an opportunity Monday to turn his life around in drug rehabilitation.

Shortly after arriving at the Mercy House in Sevierville on Monday morning, Phillip Paul McKinney allegedly broke into a cash register and stole $20 and then broke out of the facility and fled on foot.

McKinney, 28, 438 McMinn St., Rogersville was captured by Sevierville police around 2:30 p.m. following a foot chase and was transported back to the Hawkins County jail.

Prior to being sent to rehab, McKinney was serving time in Hawkins County stemming from an arrest on Feb. 5 for resisting arrest and probation violation.

Last week, Sessions Judge J. Todd Ross signed a jail furlough for McKinney to allow him to attend drug rehabilitation

McKinney was transferred to the Mercer House after serving 19 days in jail.

“I granted him alternative sentencing so that he may be in a better situation to be successful when his sentence is completed,” Ross told the Times-News on Tuesday. “He was there before and did well for a while. They agreed to accept him back after a certain passage of time.”

Ross added, “By sending him while he still had (jail) time to serve, I still have the ability to bring him back if he isn’t successful. I have done this many times, and most of the time it has worked really well. This time it didn’t. He will now likely serve the remainder of his sentence in jail. It’s unfortunate that it didn’t work out, but I would rather try and fail than not try at all.”

McKinney was not charged by the Sevierville Police Department, but upon being returned to the Hawkins County jail, he was charged with failure to appear for leaving rehab.

He was arraigned Wednesday before Ross, and has a March 6 hearing to determine if his request to enter Recovery Court will be approved. Meanwhile, he remains in the Hawkins County jail without bond.

McKinney’s arrest record in Hawkins County dates back to 2003 and includes charges such as underage alcohol consumption, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, public intoxication, domestic violence, assault on an officer, twice for destruction of city/county property, parole violation, contempt of court, probation violation, failure to appear, criminal impersonation and possession of drug paraphernalia.

He served 276 days in jail in 2011 for manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance, and in an unrelated charge he served 222 days last year for burglary and theft over $1,000.

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