Two sentenced for kidnapping elderly victims in Tennessee, Virginia

Joshua Small, 52, and Joni Amber Johnson, 36, were sentenced on January 28. / (BCSO)
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DANDRIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Two people were sentenced in connection to what the Department of Justice called a kidnapping and home invasion spree across East Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia during the summer of 2018.

Joshua Small, 52, and Joni Amber Johnson, 36, were sentenced on January 28 for the crimes which occurred from May 2018 to July 2018.

Investigators said that, during that time, Small and Johnson "targeted the homes of elderly victims, forcing entry into their residences, holding victims at gunpoint, and binding their hands and feet." The suspects would then steal from the home.

"The home invasions were noteworthy for the egregious amount of violence directed towards the victim," according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office Eastern District of Tennessee.

One of the crimes occurred in Dandridge, Tennessee and another reportedly occurred in Campbell County.

Dandridge officials said that on June 29, 2018, they responded to the home of 81-year-old Clyde Moore, an Army veteran, on Fain Cemetery Road. Moore told investigators that he was outside moving dirt when a small, black car came to his house. A man and woman got out of the vehicle and went up to Moore. Moore claimed that the couple asked if he would be interested in having his home pressure washed.

According to the police report, Moore declined, shook hands with the man and went inside his home.

Within minutes, investigators said that the couple knocked on Moore's door and entered without permission. The report stated that the man went over to Moore and hit him on both sides of the neck. The chair turned over with Moore in it.

The man, according to the report, told the woman, "If he moves, shoot to kill." He then told Moore, "You don't want to die, do you?" Moore then had his hands and feet tied with duct tape. The release from the District Attorney's Office corroborated with the victim's claims and said the couple stole $3,200 from him.

Investigators said, in total, Small and Johnson attacked, "terrorized, kidnapped and robbed," seven elderly people.

“The Department of Justice will always stand firmly against those who seek to terrorize, take advantage of, and abuse our country’s citizens. While this case is noteworthy for the extreme violence and the large geographical area of the crime spree, we know that this is not an isolated incident. Preventing further crimes such as those committed by Joshua Small and Joni Amber Johnson is one of our greatest priorities,” said U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey.

Small received 30 years in federal prison with five years of supervised release. Johnson was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison with five years of supervised release. They were both ordered to pay over $8,000 in restitution.

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