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Judge sends case for man arrested after three-hour standoff to grand jury, keeps bond at $80,000

Becky Campbell • Feb 12, 2018 at 6:33 PM

A Johnson City man who held police at bay for three hours on a frigid Friday afternoon earlier this month was in Washington County General Sessions Court Monday for a preliminary hearing on charges that led to the standoff.

Cory M. Cox, 30, appeared before Judge Don Arnold on one of three criminal cases against him. The charges dealt with Monday were carjacking, reckless endangerment with serious injury or use of a deadly weapon, reckless driving, evading arrest and unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon. After hearing testimony from Washington County Sheriff’s Investigator Lt. Doug Gregg, Arnold dismissed the weapon charge but bound the other charges over to a grand jury.

Arnold denied a motion from defense counsel to reduce Cox’s $80,000 bond. He was represented by Darcee Kubisiak and Chris Byrd.

Gregg testified that he received call from an ATF investigator on Jan. 25 that Cox, who was wanted on unrelated outstanding warrants, was in a white Chevy Impala in Jonesborough. Gregg said he responded to the location and followed the Impala to Johnson City. He testified the driver, a woman later identified as Courtney Carr, rolled through two stop signs so he initiated a traffic stop on West State of Franklin Road near Earthfare. 

Gregg said he thought the driver was going to pull over, but the driver’s door opened and he saw “Cox force her out of the car,” and climb into the driver’s seat. Gregg said it appeared Carr got tangled in the seatbelt and when Cox took off, she was flung onto the roadway. Other officers were arriving, so Gregg followed the vehicle while Carr was moved to a safer location. Gregg said he only followed the Impala a short distance because of the way Cox was driving.

There was no testimony that Cox had a weapon during the incident, so Arnold granted a defense motion to dismiss that charge. It doesn’t prevent the state from re-instating the charge  in Criminal Court with the necessary evidence of the alleged crime.

Cox was wanted on outstanding warrants that stemmed from a driver’s license checkpoint incident with the Tennessee Highway Patrol on Nov. 24. At that checkpoint, Cox handed an officer an expired Virginia driver’s license, which was later determined to be fake. While talking to Cox, troopers said they smelled an odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle and asked Cox about it.

“Mr. Cox stated he had smoked marijuana and handed me the cigar that he used to smoke the marijuana out of,” Trooper Edward Tester wrote in an affidavit of complaint. When the trooper asked Cox to step out of the car, he took off. Another officer, Trooper Alex Perry, pursued Cox and tried to pull him over, but Cox continued driving in a reckless manner and Perry stopped following him.

After the incident with Washington County officers on Jan. 25, the sheriff’s office released information to the public about their search for Cox. That led to an anonymous tip on Feb. 2 that Cox was in a mobile home off Emory Lane in Johnson City. Johnson City police and Washington County sheriff’s deputies attempted to get Cox to leave the residence, but he wouldn’t. Three other people inside the mobile home did exit and confirmed to officers that Cox was inside, and he was armed.

After nearly three hours of trying to get Cox to talk to them, officers finally shot chemical agents into the mobile home hoping to flush Cox out. 

He finally appeared in the back yard from under the mobile home, police said, and was taken into custody without further incident. He was arraigned on the charges last week. Attorneys only handled the carjacking and related charges during the Monday hearing. A hearing on the THP charges was set for March 6.

No charges related to the standoff had been filed as of Monday.

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