A 12-member Carter County jury returned a guilty verdict on Friday morning against Jonathan Chapman, who had been charged in the aggravated robbery of an Elizabethton man.
The jury took about 90 minutes to find the 20-year-old man guilty of aggravated robbery. The jury heard several hours of testimony on Thursday before going into deliberations Friday morning.
The prosecution, led by Assistant District Attorney Melanie Sellers, claimed during testimony that Chapman and three other individuals, Christopher Phillips, Bethany Collins and Kimberly Crable, went to 424 Field Road in Elizabethton on Jan. 2, 2011 and robbed Michael Jason Davis, 24, who was later arrested for shooting at the suspects as they fled the property. The victim told the jury he had been in the dining room washing clothes when the back door was forced open. He said a gun was placed against his head and he was forced to the ground.
Once on the ground, Davis said the robbers assaulted him and stole items from the residence. During the trial, Davis showed the jury a chipped tooth, which was caused when the assailants kicked him. When the defendants were leaving the property, Davis said he grabbed a weapon and followed them outside. He is accused of shooting one of the robbers as they were fleeing. He was later charged with aggravated assault for shooting Phillips.
Collins was the victim’s ex-girlfriend and she was dating Chapman at the time of the incident, witnesses said.
ADA Sellers said Chapman was behind the robbery. She said Chapman had brought the gun, which was actually a toy air pistol, and gave it to Phillips so Chapman could take the items from the home. The toy air pistol was fashioned to look like a real gun, the ADA said.
Randy Fallin represented Chapman and said during the trial that his client was guilty of theft and possibly facilitation of simple robbery, but not aggravated robbery. He noted that Chapman took the items, but did not plan to rob Davis. In addition, Fallin said Collins was the “author” of the crime.
In addition to finding Chapman guilty of aggravated robbery, the jury levied a $10,000 fine against him. He will return to court on Aug. 17 for a sentencing hearing. On that date, charges of maintaining a dwelling where narcotics are sold or manufactured and possession of drug paraphernalia will be heard. Chapman was taken into custody after the verdict on Friday morning. He will remain incarcerated in the Carter County Jail until sentencing.
The three remaining robbery defendants, Collins, Phillips and Crable, remain pending in Criminal Court. The case against Davis also remains in court.