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2 accused in Johnson City slingshot, ball bearing vandalism held on $163,000 bond each

Becky Campbell • Updated Jun 15, 2017 at 8:05 PM

 The two men arrested Wednesday on more than 25 charges related to people, businesses and homes being shot with ball bearings are also “persons of interest” in a similar investigation in Knoxville, a spokesman at the Knoxville Police Department confirmed.

Public Information Officer Darrell DeBusk said two Knoxville police investigators traveled to Washington County on Thursday morning to interview Dakotah Shell, 26, of Afton, and Joseph Dechristina, 22, of Knoxville. DeBusk said there were about 25 reports overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday morning throughout Knoxville of businesses and vehicles having windows shattered by ball bearings.

He said Knoxville police were notified about the arrests by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office because law enforcement here knew about the vandalism that occurred in Knoxville and because Dechristina lives there.

The two men were arraigned Thursday afternoon on charges listed in three separate warrants. Johnson City police charged each one with 11 counts of felony reckless endangerment, 15 counts of misdemeanor vandalism and one count of aggravated assault. Washington County charged the men with two counts of vandalism and two counts of reckless endangerment with serious injury or use of a deadly weapon.

Dechristina has additional charges of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Those charges stem from things officers found inside Dechristina’s vehicle. During the search, deputies found not only the slingshot and a bag of ball bearings, but also a hollowed-out book with 1.296 ounces of marijuana and a grinder. They also found a brown box that contained 25.456 ounces of chocolate, which officers said Dechristina admitted contained a gram of marijuana in each chocolate.

Officers also said Dechristina said he sold marijuana for $10 to $20 per gram. 

Both men were arraigned on the charges Thursday afternoon and held on $163,000 bond each. The investigations are continuing and more charges could be placed, police said. Their next court date is June 22.

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