logo



UPDATED: Federal indictment filed in Johnson City man's automatic weapons case

Becky Campbell • Updated Oct 11, 2017 at 6:29 PM

A Johnson City man arrested last week on gun charges was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury, according to U.S. District Court documents filed in Greeneville.

On top of state charges of speeding, felony evading arrest and possession of prohibited weapons, Scott Edmisten, 43, 1915 Clearwood Drive, was indicted on federal charges of three counts of possession of a firearm not registered with the National Firearms and Transfer Record, one count of making firearms in violation of that same federal law and one count of possession of firearms without serial numbers.

Edmisten was arrested by Washington County Sheriff’s deputies after a traffic stop Oct. 2 during which officers reported finding multiple handguns, rifles and 900 rounds of ammunition in his car. According to the officers, the rifles were modified for automatic fire, which are illegal to possess without proper federal permits.

He was in Washington County General Sessions Court Wednesday afternoon with his attorney, Brad Sproles, for a bond hearing. Judge James Nidiffer set his bond at $50,000.

District Attorney General Tony Clark announced during the bond hearing there was a federal indictment awaiting Edmisten and asked Judge James Nidiffer to consider that in his decision on the bond amount. Nidiffer didn’t want to hear the case because of a conflict, but did so to ensure Edmisten’s right to a bond hearing within 10 days of his arrest was not violated.

Sullivan County Sessions Judge Ray Conkin was appointed to hear the case because of allegations Edmisten sent letters to three judges in Washington County — Nidiffer, Chancellor John Rambo and Johnson City Juvenile Court Judge Sharon Green — about a child custody dispute and their alleged involvement in that case.

Local, state and federal law enforcement searched Edmisten’s home on Oct. 3 and found more weapons and ammunition. Investigators initially thought there could be explosives in the basement, which is where Edmisten lived while his mother lived upstairs, but none were found, Sheriff Ed Graybeal said after that search.

During the hearing Wednesday, Clark said he was prepared to put on proof, but Sproles said he would just let the judge make a ruling without hearing evidence. He opposed Clark’s intention to introduce the letters Edmisten allegedly sent to the three judges.

Inventories for what was seized in the search of Edmisten’s car and residence have not been filed in the clerk’s office, although items taken from the vehicle were confiscated without a warrant so there may not be anything filed.

The federal indictment identified the purported illegal firearms as a .556 caliber AR platform machine gun, a .308 caliber AR platform machine gun and a .223 caliber AR platform machine gun.

The fact there was no warrant is the basis for a motion Sproles filed asking a judge to suppress the evidence as “fruit of the poisonous tree.” That’s a standing legal ruling that makes evidence seized without going through proper channels to be inadmissible in court.

According to Sproles’ motion, the deputy had no basis to search Edmisten’s vehicle simply for a speeding violation. In the warrant filed detailing the initial charges against Edmisten, the officer stated he took an inventory of the vehicle prior to it being towed from the scene of the stop.

But Sproles argued in his motion that his client was never given an option to make other arrangements for someone to pick up his vehicle and the fact it was in a church parking lot where there would be little to no traffic did not create a traffic hazard. Sproles said the search should never have occurred and evidence obtained in that search should be inadmissible.

Edmisten was traveling on the Old Jonesborough Highway, headed toward Jonesborough, when he was reportedly clocked going 55 mph in a 30 mph zone. Edmisten pulled into the Midway Baptist Church parking lot after initially speeding up before he stopped.

In the warrant, Casura said Edmisten told him he was scared and didn’t know why the officer pulled him over was the reason he sped up initially.

Nidiffer deferred taking any action in the case other than setting bond, so the suppression issue will be heard by Conkin. No hearing dates were set Wednesday, but will be scheduled according to Conkin’s calendar.

As of late afternoon Wednesday, Edmisten was listed as a federal detainee at the Washington County Detention Center.

——

Reported earlier:

A Johnson City man arrested last week on gun charges involving modified weapons was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury, according to U.S. District Court documents filed in Greeneville.

Scott Edmisten, 43, 1915 Clearwood Drive, was charged with speeding, felony evading arrest and possession of prohibited weapons, after a traffic stop Oct. 2 led to officers finding multiple handguns, rifles and 900 rounds of ammunition in his car. He was in Washington County General Sessions Court Wednesday afternoon with his attorney, Brad Sproles, for a bond hearing. 

District Attorney General Tony Clark announced during the bond hearing there was a federal indictment awaiting Edmisten and asked Judge James Nidiffer to consider that in his decision on the bond amount. Nidiffer didn’t want to hear the case but did so to ensure Edmisten’s right to a bond were not violated. Sullivan County Sessions Judge Ray Conkin was appointed to hear the case because of allegations Edmisten sent letters to three judges in Washington County — Nidiffer, Chancellor John Rambo and Johnson City Juvenile Court Judge Sharon Green — regarding a child custody dispute and their alleged involvement in that case.

Local, state and federal law enforcement searched Edmisten’s home on Oct. 3 and found more weapons and ammunition.

Nidiffer set a $50,000 bond for Edmisten.

The federal indictment charges Edmisten with three counts of possession of a firearm not registered with the National Firearms and Transfer Record, one count of making firearms in violation of that same federal law and one count of possession of firearms without serial numbers. All three charges fall under U.S. Code Chapter 53, Title 26.

Keep checking back at www.JohnsonCityPress.com for more details on this developing story.

Recommended for You