Fourth arrest made in New Year's Day robbery

John Thompson • Jan 4, 2013 at 9:33 PM

ELIZABETHTON — A fourth arrest was made Thursday in a New Year’s Day armed robbery of a man at his home on Hillside Drive, Johnson City. A weapon that was allegedly used in the robbery was also recovered.

Crystal Dawn Barnes, 32, Martindale Drive, Johnson City, was arrested at 9:15 p.m. Thursday by Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes. She was charged with aggravated robbery, evading arrest and violation of parole.

Barnes is accused of going with Gary Lynn Hammonds, 25, 103 Sequoyah Drive, Apt. 14; Robert G. Goins, 52, 1613 E. Fairview Ave., Johnson City; and Ashley Nicole Norris, 26, 276 Berry Hill Road, to rob Steve Wyatt in his home on New Year’s Day. A gun was fired during the attempt, with the bullet going out a bedroom window. The other three suspects were arrested shortly after the robbery Tuesday.

Mathes said he was working with Shift Capt. Matt Howell of the Johnson City Police Department to find Barnes. “His shift did a great job scouring the city to find her,” Mathes said.

Mathes said his relationship with Howell goes back to the time when they were patrol officers together with the Johnson City Police Department. On Wednesday, the two of them staked out a motel where she was believed to have taken refuge.

During the early hours of Thursday evening, the sheriff was participating in a town meeting with state Rep. Kent Willilams on school safety, but at 9:15 p.m., officers of the Johnson City Police Department located her at the Sunoco convenience store at 408 N. Broadway St.

Mathes arrived on the scene at 9:45 p.m. and placed Barnes under arrest and transported her to the Carter County Detention Center.

“She gave us information on the weapon that was used in the robbery,” Mathes said. “It was a 9 mm. handgun.” Mathes said she told them that after the robbery, the four began running away from Hillside Drive, toward Spring Drive. Barnes said they ran through a backyard of a Spring Drive residence near the intersection with Sinking Creek and hid the gun under a shed.

With the gun recovered by the sheriff’s department, Mathes said he is considering turning the case over to federal prosecutors because two of the defendants are convicted felons.

According to the affidavits of deputies on the arrest warrants, Barnes was instrumental in setting up the robbery. Barnes allegedly called Wyatt early New Year’s Day and told him she needed to borrow some money for a hotel room because she had been kicked out on the street. Wyatt agreed to lend her the money and told her to come to his residence.

Barnes came to the residence with Norris. As they were going to the bedroom to get the money, Wyatt said the two men barged in and threatened him with a gun. A wallet that contained approximately $1,400 in cash was taken at gunpoint. The wallet with the money was found a short time later on the escape route.

Officers from the sheriff’s department and the Elizabethton Police Department were able to arrest three of the suspects during their escape attempt, but Barnes was able to escape into the woods.

Barnes had her first appearance in Sessions Court on Friday. Judge John Walton appointed a public defender for her and scheduled her next appearance for Jan. 18, the same day the three codefendants will be in court.

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