SuperTalk WFHG Local News Stories
Monday, July 06, 2015

Confederate Flag Parade Underway in Kingsport
Vehicles carrying the Confederate flag went on parade in Kingsport. It was organized on Facebook, led by a Sullivan South High School student rallying support for the flag. Hundreds showed up to participate in a parade of vehicles and flags.

Old Theft Case Results in New Arrest of Abingdon Man
The theft of a motorcycle three years ago is no longer a cold case. That's according to Washington County, Virgnia Sheriff Fred Newman, who said a tip has led to the arrest of 36-year-old Johnny Ivan Morrell Junior of Primerose Lane, Abingdon in connection with the motorcycle valued at $14,000. He's charged with buying or receiving stolen property. Newman said the investigation is continuing with additional charges possible.

Additional Conduct Under Investigation at BVU
Reports are that the investigation of Bristol, Virginia Utilities is taking another turn. Commonwealth's attorney Nicole Price ...who's been in charged of a state investigation, says she's requested to sheriff's department to look into additional conduct. So far, two former top level VP s and two contractors, have pleaded guilty to a fraud kickback scheme. They were charged by federal, not state authorities, and that investigation also continues.

Abingdon Man Charged with Killing Father Arraigned in Court This Afternoon
Abingdon murder suspect Joshua Copeland, charged with killing his father, arraigned in court this afternoon. The 31-year-old Copeland indicated he has no job, no property and only the $150 he had on him when arrested, so a judge said he is indigent and appointed an attorney to represent him at a preliminary hearing September 3rd. No family members attended the arraignment. Copeland is being held without bond, charged with stabbing and killing his father, Edsel Copeland, outside a state parole office on Main Street in Abingdon.

Involuntary Manslaughter Case of Boone NC Motel Owner Delayed Until October
The involuntary manslaughter case involving a Boone NC motel owner has been continued until the fall. Watauga County court officials said proceedings against 50-yr-old Damon Mallatere will be heard again Oct. 5. Police have charged him in the carbon monoxide deaths of three guests two years ago at the Boone Best Western. Mallatere has pleaded not guilty. The families of those killed from chemicals from a faulty swimming pool heater filed civil suits against Mallatere last month.

UPDATE: Suspected Pipe Bomber of Johnson City Prothetics Biz Owns Similar Business in Kingsport
There is no motive yet, but it appears a pipe bomb placed inside a Johnson City prosthetic business was the work of one of the owners of similar business in Kingsport. Christopher Wayne Alexander appeared in federal court in Greeneville and was arraigned on one count of knowingly possessing a pipe bomb. Alexander was stopped shortly after a bomb exploded inside Victory Prosthetics on Knob Creek Road. Alexander is listed as one of the owners of Alexander Prosthetics on East Stone Drive. Tennessee ATF spokesperson Mike Knight... “It's still very fluid and ongoing. At this point, we're just at the initial stages of providing a safe environment for, obviously, the area of the businesses as well as pursuing the other leads.” Alexander will have a preliminary hearing on the charge July 15 in Greeneville.

Fire Destroys Mobile Home In Abingdon
An investigation is underway attempting to find out what caused a fire to destroy a home at the Exit 19 Mobile Home Park in Abingdon. When fire crews arrived they saw smoke coming from the back of the home, finding that most of the fire was in the rear bedroom, but heavy smoke damage made the home a complete loss. Nobody was injured in the incident.

Police Say Medical Office Bombed and Burned, Suspect Arrested
A medical office bombed in Johnson City, leading to the arrest of Chistopher Wayne Alexander. Police arrested him in a van on State of Franklin Road nearby and charged him with possession of a pipe bomb. Indication are he is known to the operator of the medical office, Victory Orthotics & Prosthetics on Knob Creek Road No one was injured in the explosion and fire. Jerome Palmer, chief of fire operations, says firefighters responded to an alarm at the medical office. He said, “A sprinkler system activated and held the fire in check. Crews arrived on scene with a quick knock down.”Federal authorities took charge of the investigation.

Two Pedestrian Hit and Run Update: Milligan Highway Resident Arrested
An arrest related to that hit and run involving two pedestrians on Milligan Highway in Elizabethton. Police now say they think they've found the car at Milligan View Apartments and traced it to 35 year old Joshua Branche who lives at an apartment on the highway. So far, Branche is charged with false reporting with the investigation ongoing. A man and woman were injured in the incident near the Shenandoah Drive intersection. James Wilder, who was found unresponsive in a ditch, remains hospitalized. Rebecca Lovell was treated at a hospital and released.

Authorities Close Down Portion of Busy Johnson City Road During Investigation
A portion of State of Franklin Road at Knob Creek and Peoples Street was closed for several hours this morning after a fire at Victory Orthotics on Knob Creek Road. Authorities are not releasing much information at this point, but we can say a bomb squad was on the scene and a tow truck removed a dark colored van from the road. One person is in federal custody as the FBI and ATF are handling the investigation.

Elizabethton Pair Arrested on DUI Charges After Hit & Run
Two people from Elizabethton have been arrested following a hit-and-run on North Roan Street in Johnson City. Reports say 35-year old Stephen S. Bateman was driving the car at the time of the crash, but that his passenger, 34-year old Jessica D Julian, was driving when they were found by police. Bateman is charged with DUI, driving on a revoked license, and leaving the scene of an accident with vehicle damage. Julian also faces DUI charges.

Two Injured in ATV Accident in Bristol, TN
An ATV accident on Wyatt Hollow Rd. in Bristol left two with serious injuries. Reports say Michel Tyler Bowman, the driver, sustained head injuries and remains in critical condition, while the passenger, Alexis Richardson is in stable condition following the crash. Sullivan County officers are investigating the incident.

Report: Joshua Copeland's Mother Witness to Edsel Copeland Stabbing Last Month
New details in an Abingdon murder case. A criminal complaint for the arrest of 31-yr-old Joshua Copeland says his mother Phyllis witnessed her son hit his father in the chest with what appeared to be a knife on June 25 in a parole board parking lot. 67-yr-old Edsel Copeland died later that day. The first-degree murder suspect was returned to jail in Virginia after waiving extradition in Arkansas where he was captured the day after the attack. Copeland has a hearing scheduled for today in juvenile and domestic relations court.

Bluff City Man Killed in a Rollback Truck Accident
A Bluff City man was killed after falling off the back of a truck. Sullivan County Sheriff's investigators say 37-year old Josey Baker fell off the bed of a rollback truck, commonly used for hauling construction equipment. Witnesses say he was hit by the truck after falling. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Search for Missing Surgoinsville Teen Continues in SWVA
It's been two weeks since Surgoinsville teen, Hayleigh Wilson went missing. After receiving new tips, authorities have moved their search to Wythe County. A woman reported seeing Hayleigh and the 41-year old sex offender she's with, Benjamin Shook, last Monday when they knocked on her door. She didn't report seeing the pair until Saturday because she was unaware of the Amber Alert. Investigators say they are getting tips, just not in enough time to take action - a problem they run into quite often. They believe Wilson and Shook are moving on foot and are only traveling a few miles a day so they are quite confident the two are still in the area.

Charges Pending in Fatal Washington County, VA Wreck
Virginia State Police say charges are pending in a deadly Washington County crash. It happened on Interstate 81 near Mile Marker 32 when 22-year old Melissa Cruz of Houston, Texas hydroplaned and hit an ambulance head on. 5-year old Clarissa Cruz died at the scene. Three other passengers were in the vehicle as well and range in age from 16 to 2. Cruz and her passengers are being treated at Bristol Regional Medical Center, Johnston Memorial Hospital and Holston Valley Medical Center. Two people in the ambulance involved in the crash were not hurt.

70-Year-Old Man Uses Cane to Assault Woman in Johnson City
Johnson City police say a 70 year old man used a cane as a weapon to assault a woman. That man, Moses Taylor of Montgomery Street, is accused of hitting a 52 year old woman, lacerating her head and drawing blood. It happened at a neighbor's apartment. The victim was not identified by police. She was treated at the hospital and released. Taylor was jailed for aggravated assault. He's scheduled to be arraigned in court this afternoon.

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