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Johnson City man's state weapons charges on hold while federal case proceeds

Becky Campbell • Oct 30, 2017 at 11:15 PM

Local charges against a man reportedly found with an illegal arsenal in his vehicle during a traffic stop earlier this month are on hold while a federal case stemming from the same weapons proceeds forward.

During a brief appearance in General Sessions Court on Oct. 11, Scott Edmisten, 43, 1915 Clearwood Drive, was scheduled for a motion hearing on his state charges — speeding, felony evading arrest and possession of prohibited weapons — for Monday. That, however, was delayed after the federal charges were filed.

A federal grand jury indicted Edmisten on three counts of possession of a firearm not registered with the National Firearms and Transfer Record, one count of making firearms in violation of that same federal law and one count of possession of firearms without serial numbers.

Edmisten was arrested by Washington County Sheriff’s deputies after an Oct. 2 traffic stop during which officers reported finding multiple handguns, rifles and 900 rounds of ammunition in his car. According to the officers, the rifles were modified for automatic fire, which are illegal to possess without proper federal permits.

The federal indictment came Oct. 11, but between his arrest and the federal charges, Edmisten’s attorney, Brad Sproles, asked for a new judge and bond for his client.

Edmisten was granted a bond of $50,000, but it became irrelevant with the federal charges, because he was ordered held without bond pending another hearing.

Washington County’s General Sessions judges can’t hear the case, because in the months prior to Edmisten’s arrest, he allegedly sent letters to Judge James Nidiffer, Chancellor John Rambo and Johnson City Juvenile Court Judge Sharon Green that a prosecutor said were rambling and contained veiled threats.

Edmisten was apparently dissatisfied with how a recent child custody issue had been handled.

Federal Magistrate Cliff Corker signed an order to have Edmisten transported to U.S. District Court in Greeneville for his first appearance there on Nov. 2.

Prior to his arrest, Edmisten was traveling on the Old Jonesborough Highway, headed toward Jonesborough, when he was reportedly clocked going 55 mph in a 30 mph zone. He pulled into the Midway Baptist Church parking lot after an officer said he initially sped away from his patrol car.

In the warrant, Deputy Matthew Casura said Edmisten told him he sped away because he was scared and didn’t know why the officer pulled him over.

During a search of Edmisten’s car, Casura found an FNX-45, a tactical handgun, located between the driver’s seat and center console with a full magazine, but no round in the chamber; a loaded Taurus .357 Magnum handgun in the driver’s side door; an AR-556 rifle in the passenger’s side floorboard with a full 30-round magazine loaded but no cartridge in the chamber; an AR-308 rifle in the back seat with a full 30-round magazine loaded but nothing chambered; 44 .45-caliber rounds; 55 .357-caliber rounds; 180 7.62 rounds; and 580 5.56 rounds.

Local, state and federal law enforcement searched Edmisten’s home Oct. 3 and found more weapons and ammunition. Investigators initially thought there could be explosives in the basement, which is where Edmisten lived while his mother lived upstairs, but none were found, Sheriff Ed Graybeal said after that search.

The District Attorney’s Office has not decided if it will let the federal case proceed to completion before moving forward with the state charges or if the two cases will be handled simultaneously. Edmisten remained in the Washington County Detention Center on Monday.

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