Gergish indicted on witness-coercion charge, nine others indicted

Becky Campbell • Nov 8, 2013 at 9:56 AM

More indictments this week from a Washington County grand jury include several statutory rape and aggravated assault cases as well as a man charged with coercion of a witness in a murder case.

Joshua Gergish, 30, 1206 Flora Ave., was indicted on a coercion of a witness charge in connection to a murder case he also faces.

Gergish, his brother, Marcus Gergish, and Chavez Hunter are charged with first-degree murder in the April 3 shooting death of Timothy Peregoy Sr. at an apartment complex on Nathaniel Drive.

Joshua Gergish is accused of following and threatening a 12-year-old witness in the case.

Other indictments returned this week include:

• Harold R. House, 30, 612 E. Maple St., on two counts of aggravated statutory rape and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He’s accused of helping a 17-year-old Kingsport girl run away from home, having sex with her and giving her marijuana. It happened Aug. 23 during the Appalachian Fair and on the fairgrounds in Gray. House was working at the fair at the time. Court records said House went to Kingsport to pick up the girl after they made a plan to live together.

On Aug. 26, officers looking for the girl found her sleeping in the back seat of House’s car.

• Michael Joseph Clay, 49, Roy Phillips Road, Jonesborough, on three counts of aggravated statutory rape. Clay is accused of having sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl between May and July. Court records do not indicate how the two knew each other, but that Clay had some authority over her.

He was also accused of sexual exploitation of a minor, but those charges were not included in the statutory rape indictment.

• Taylor Blake Owens, 22, 1810 Bailey Bridge Road, Limestone, on three counts of statutory rape and 10 counts of soliciting exploitation of a minor. According to court records, Owens was interviewed by a Washington County sheriff’s investigator and gave a statement saying he had sex with a teenage girl, 15 and 16 at the time, and received sexually explicit photographs the girl sent him. There were 10 of those photos found on his cell phone, court records indicate.

• James Robert McInturff, 22, 18 Upper Sand Valley Road, on one count of aggravated assault. He was arrested after an Aug. 4 altercation with his uncle, Phillip Robinson, about which one would use the shower first that night. McInturff is accused of slashing his uncle’s throat after Robinson got out of the bathroom.

• Ray D. Sluss, 48, 180 Shannon View Road, Gray, on two counts of aggravated assault and one count of resisting arrest. The charges stem from an August 21 incident at Sluss’ home when Washington County sheriff’s Capt. Larry Denny was assisting federal officers serving a warrant in a child pornography case. Sluss tried to flee and got into a scuffle with the officers. In the process, Denny received was poked twice with a knife by Sluss, court records said.

• Christopher D. Sparks, 25, Johnson City, on a charge of aggravated assault. Sparks is accused of pulling a knife and threatening a woman during an argument. The incident began as an argument between Sparks and his ex-girlfriend over advances he allegedly made to the victim, Marquita Jones, on Facebook. When Jones showed up at the apartment where Sparks and his ex were, the argument escalated. Witnesses told police Sparks went to the kitchen, got a knife and threatened to cut Jones’ throat.

• Jack Henry Johnson, 26, Johnson City, on four counts of aggravated assault. He’s accused of shooting into a business on South Roan Street after the occupants had provided assistance to Johnson’s girlfriend during domestic arguments they had.

• Christa Bailey, 30, and John Watson, 20, both of 160 Guinn Lane, Erwin, and Lori Tucker, 20, and Zachery Tittle, 20, both of 577 Woodlyn Road, all on one count of aggravated robbery. The four are accused of robbing two women at 306 Dry Creek Road after giving them a ride to that location.

• Jahmar D. Adams, 20, Johnson City, on charges of carrying a weapon on school property in one case and aggravated burglary and theft under $500 in another case. East Tennessee State University public safety officers observed Adams with a handgun in the front of his pants after responding to a call about possible drug activity.

Those indicted by the grand jury this week will appear in Criminal Court later this year.

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