ELIZABETHTON — A Carter County jury found Travis Grover Richardson, 30, guilty Tuesday on all seven charges stemming from a robbery and pursuit that went through four police jurisdictions in 2011. The jury reduced a charge of attempted second-degree murder of Elizabethton Police Officer Matthew Taylor to reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon.
Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood set Richardson’s sentencing hearing for July 18.
The jury found Richardson guilty on all other charges, including some defense attorney Jim Bowman argued were duplicate charges. Richardson was pronounced guilty of aggravated robbery of the owner of a 1994 Jeep Cherokee, two counts of aggravated assault on Elizabethton Capt. Joy Markland and Carter County Lt. Penny Cornett for an attempted and an actual ramming of their police cruisers with the Jeep, two counts of evading arrest in a motor vehicle creating a risk of death, and a charge of criminal simulation in the passing of a counterfeit $100 bill at IGA grocery.
Testimony in the two-day trial revealed the pursuit began with the passing of the counterfeit bill. Taylor responded to the store and attempted to take Richardson into custody. Richardson testified he “did not want to go to jail” and fled.
Richardson told the jury he mistakenly ran away from his car and when he turned he found Taylor right behind him. Taylor had testified Richardson had a silver knife that he brandished as he walked toward him.
Richardson said Taylor drew his gun. Richardson said he then ran toward Stateline Road and to a wooded ridge on the other side where he hoped to hide.
On the other side of the road, Richardson allegedly told a resident to give him the keys to the Jeep. He then found the keys were in the car, leading to the pursuit.
Prosecutor Janet Vest Hardin said two other witnesses testified Richardson had a silver knife. Richardson testified he did not have a knife and they must have mistaken a chrome watchband and ring for a knife.
Hardin used video tape to show that Richardson did not have a watch on his arms when he fled from the grocery store.
Much of Richardson’s cross examination by Hardin was his narration of the in-car video from Cornett’s cruiser. He calmly agreed when Hardin described the numerous traffic violations he racked up on his four-jurisdiction excursion. He even mentioned that a scene where he stuck his left hand out of the car window while he had a flat right front tire and several cruisers right behind him was merely a friendly wave at a friend who drove by in the oncoming lane as he headed toward South Roan Street in Johnson City.
Hardin told the jury that Richardson was willing to admit his guilt on things that were obviously shown on the video, but tried to dispute things that the video did not show, such as whether or not he had a knife.