Three men in separate and unrelated criminal cases that made headlines over the last couple of years pleaded guilty Tuesday charges in their cases.
Andy Jackson Heaton, aka “Rooster,” 43, Johnson City, was charged with two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, but entered a “best interest” guilty plea to two counts of aggravated assault.
Heaton’s charges stem from a Dec. 30, 2010, incident during which two girls said a man — later identified as Heaton — grabbed them, covered their mouths and tried to carry them away at Tyler Apartments.
The girls, ages 8 and 10, said they were at the playground when a white male grabbed them and dragged them about five feet before they were able to break free and run away.
The girls gave police a detailed description of Heaton and they picked him out of a photo lineup as the man who grabbed them.
Heaton’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Bill Francisco, told Judge Stacy Street that his client has some physical limitations that make it “hard to believe” he could pick up both the girls at the same time.
Heaton was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He’s already served 2½ years prior to the plea, so Street put him on probation for the remainder of the sentence.
In another case, Jamarcus Jackson had four counts of aggravated assault dismissed because the victim’s refuse to cooperate with prosecutors, but he pleaded guilty to a failure to appear in the case.
Jackson, 22, is already serving a six-year sentence for another assault that occurred in 2009. He was sentenced to two years in jail on the failure to appear charge. He told Street he didn’t show up for court because his daughter was hospitalized with an infection.
Street told Jackson there are few legitimate excuses for not appearing on a scheduled court date and that he should have let someone know what was going on. Jackson must serve 18 months of the two-year sentence.
The third case involved a police standoff that resulted in the arrest of Shawn Sykes, of Bristol, Va.
Sykes, 44, was arrested June 3, 2011, after an 11-hour standoff with Johnson City police at Motel 6 on Mountcastle Drive. U.S. marshals had gone there to serve an arrest warrant on Sykes when he barricaded himself and his wife in their room and threatened to set it on fire.
Sykes was charged with promotion of manufacturing methamphetamine, aggravated arson and evading arrest. He pleaded guilty to the meth charge and arson. The evading was dismissed.
Street ordered Sykes to serve 10 years in prison, which was part of the plea agreement. He is already serving a sentence from Sullivan County and the sentences will run concurrent for an effective sentence of 10 years.