Two men and a woman have been arrested on charges stemming from a Sunday morning shooting incident in the parking lot of the Elizabethton Walmart.
Brandon Ronnie Rhea was charged with attempted second-degree murder, while Michael Arnold and Jonelle O’brien were each charged with accessory after the fact. All three were also charged with aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. According to Elizabethton Police, the shooting incident was the result of a planned robbery which was to take place during an illicit drug deal.
An investigation revealed that and Edward Wayne Sargent Jr. had arranged to meet Jonelle O’Brien in the Walmart parking lot for a drug sale. O’brien arrived for the appointment with Arnold and Rhea, and she and Arnold entered Bulla’s vehicle, demanding the drugs and money at gunpoint. Bulla refused and exited the vehicle, where he was then shot once in the chest by Rhea, who was seated in the driver’s seat of O’brien’s vehicle.
Both vehicles left the scene, and Sargent drove Bulla to the emergency room, where he was treated for entry and exit of a gunshot wound to the chest. A .40-caliber shell casing was later found at the scene.
After fleeing the parking lot, Arnold and Obrien were arrested Tuesday afternoon, and Rhea was arrested Wednesday morning. All three have been booked into Carter County Jail awaiting arraignment.
The Unicoi Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Monday narrowly passed a resolution opposing the city of Johnson City’s proposal to restore about 25 linear acres of natural wetlands on the former Buffalo Valley Golf course property.
Passage of the resolution on a 3-to-2-vote followed Johnson City City Manager Pete Peterson’s explanation to the board that the proposed stream mitigation is intended to recoup the city’s initial $3 million investment in the 127-acre golf course by creating a bank of wetland credits that can be sold to developers of other wetland areas for between $2 million and $4 million.
Beyond the wetlands restoration, Peterson said the city has no plans for the remaining 100 acres of the property and would be open to negotiating uses including an athletic complex, subdivided real estate sales for home construction and other uses in keeping with the regional economic development focus on tourism.
A federal judge has determined the free-speech rights of former David Crockett football coach Gerald Sensabaugh were not violated when Washington County Schools director Kimber Halliburton reprimanded him last fall and ultimately fired him in March.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Pamela Reeves officially dismissed the $5 million lawsuit, filed by Sensabaugh, that alleged Halliburton violated his First Amendment rights for retaliating against him for Facebook posts he wrote that were critical of the school system. The judge ultimately determined Halliburton would have fired Sensabaugh absent his Facebook posts.
A story that made headlines for months, the saga of Sensabaugh and the Washington County School system has laid bare many ill feelings for both sides, and has brought to light many issues with current Jonesborough schools and staff. For the full story and history, visit our website and search “Sensabaugh,” or simply read Zach Vance’s latest synopsis of the ordeal.
There are plenty of things going on this holiday weekend, with big sales, parades, and shows scheduled throughout the region - so find something you enjoy and add it to your calendar. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and the holiday joy continues!