West Virginia pair convicted of robbing elderly in Tennessee

Source: Blount County Sheriff's Office
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — A pair from West Virginia has been convicted by a federal grand jury in Knoxville for kidnapping and firearms offenses after robbing elderly retirees at gunpoint in Tennessee.

Josh Small, 51, and Joni Amber Johnson, 35, were convicted on conspiracy to kidnap and kidnapping on July 10 following a three-day trial.

According to a previous indictment, Small worked for a family member on small paving jobs, such as paving or repaving driveways, for single-family households in Tennessee. The customers were often retirees and the elderly who paid cash for the work.

Prosecutors said that on June 30, 2018, Small and Johnson used a gun to force their way into the home of a 73-year-old woman and tied her up before stealing her jewelry, firearms, cash, a knife and other items. Prosecutors said Small and Johnson took the victim's phone and left her with her hands and feet bound.

The two were later arrested in West Virginia where investigators said they found Small with several stolen items belonging to the victim. They had sold a number of the valuables off to West Virginia pawn shops.

A judge set sentencing for Johnson on November 25 and for Small on December 4, both at 10 a.m.

According to a release from the Department of Justice, they both face a sentence up to life in prison.