Johnson City woman faces drug, shoplifting charges

Published 8:33 am Thursday, July 16, 2015

A routine shoplifting call at a local retail store ended up being not so routine when police charged a Johnson City woman with possessing cocaine.

Police arrested Melissa Courtney, 34, 112 Brice Lane, Johnson City, shortly after 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and charged her with public intoxication, possession of Schedule II drugs and resisting arrest. Officers also issued Courtney a criminal summons charging her with shoplifting.

On Wednesday, Courtney appeared in Carter County General Sessions Court and entered a guilty plea to the charges of public intoxication, resisting arrest and possession of Schedule II drugs. The shoplifting charge will be heard in General Sessions Court on a later date.

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Judge Keith Bowers sentenced Courtney to a $10 fine on the public intoxication charge, a $25 fine on the resisting arrest charge and an $850 fine on the drug possession charge. She must also serve 11 months and 29 days on probation and pay court costs on all the charges.

Tuesday officers responded to the Elizabethton Wal-Mart on Overmountain Drive after a store employee called 911 and reported a shoplifter had been caught.

When officers arrived, they spoke with Wal-Mart employee Scott Elliot, who said he had caught a woman, later identified as Courtney, shoplifting merchandise from the store.

When Courtney spoke with officers, she appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, EPD Cpl. James Deese said, adding she had slurred speech and had a difficult time keeping her eyes open.

“I asked Courtney if I could search her purse for merchandise, at which time she said yes and began to go through her purse while I looked inside it,” Deese said, adding he saw Courtney trying to conceal something in her hand. The item Courtney was attempting to conceal was later found to be cocaine.

Officers arrested Courtney and as she was being escorted to the police cruiser, she struggled with officers, slipped out of one of the handcuffs and unsuccessfully attempted to runaway, Deese said.