Car burglary suspects bound over to Criminal Court

Published 8:46 am Friday, April 10, 2015

Burglary Bind Over

A pair of Elizabethton men charged in a string of car burglaries have been bound over to Criminal Court on multiple felony charges related to the thefts and drugs.

Elizabethton Police Department investigators arrested Johsua Milsaps, 21, of 828 Hickory St. and Joshua Russell, 31, of 608 Locust St., No. 11, on March 24 after an investigation into a string of car burglaries in the city.

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Officers charged Milsaps with 11 counts of burglary of a motor vehicle and Russell with 10 counts of burglary of a motor vehicle. Each was also charged with one count of promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine. The two men were arraigned in General Sessions Court on April 1 and appeared again in that court on Wednesday. During their second court appearance, Milsaps and Russell each waived their rights to a preliminary hearing and had their charges bound over to a Carter County Grand Jury.

A public defender was appointed to represent Russell while private attorney Chad Cash was appointed by the court to represent Milsaps. In his order for appointment, Judge Robert Lincoln, who presided over Wednesday’s court appearance, noted that Milsaps is indigent but cannot be represented by the Public Defender’s Office due to a conflict of interest.

All of the charges against Milsaps and Russell connected to the burglaries and drug charges will now be presented to a Carter County Grand Jury, which will determine if the cases proceed on to Criminal Court. The two men were ordered to appear in Criminal Court on July 30. Both Milsaps and Russell remain in the Carter County Detention Center under a $15,000 bond each.

The investigation into the string of burglaries began after the police department received reports of several car burglaries, many of which occurred in the same neighborhood, during the weekend of March 22-24.

During the investigation, the department received a tip that led him and other officers to suspect Milsaps and Russell were involved in the burglaries, EPD Detective Joe Harrah said. That tip led officers to a hotel room in Johnson City where they found the two men.

“Investigators found various items in their possession which were determined to have been taken from some of the reported auto burglaries in Elizabethton,” EPD Capt. Joy Shoun said. “Officers also recovered other items believed to have been stolen out of other jurisdictions.”

Milsaps and Russell admitted to the burglaries during interviews with officers, Harrah said in warrants for the two men’s arrest. Police were also able to connect Milsaps with a car burglary from January where a laptop computer was stolen from a vehicle parked in the 300 block of Pine Hill Road. Milsaps admitted he had stolen the laptop and had later sold it, Harrah said. While interviewing Milsaps and Russell, officers learned the two men were possibly involved in manufacturing methamphetamine, Shoun said.  Officers went to the apartment building on Eisenhour Street, where they located a variety of items used to cook meth.