DA requests mental health evaluation for home invasion suspect

Published 6:10 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Carter County man charged in connection with a home invasion case will undergo a mental health evaluation by request of the District Attorney’s Office.

On Tuesday, Timothy Stapp, 44, of 128 Norman Joines Road, Elizabethton, appeared in Carter County General Sessions Court on Tuesday morning. Stapp faces charges of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, armed dangerous felonies, and carrying or possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.

Stapp’s appearance in court on Tuesday was part of a status update in the case to see if either the District Attorney or the Public Defender’s Office, which represents Stapp, had any motions to file with the court regarding the case before a preliminary hearing is scheduled.

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Assistant District Attorney Mark Hill informed the court the State is requesting Stapp undergo a mental health evaluation before the case proceeds to a preliminary hearing. Hill said the request was based upon the “seriousness of the charges” as well as other matters. Immediately following his arrest, Stapp was placed on suicide watch at the Carter County Detention Center.

Stapp’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Jim Lonon, said the defense did not oppose the mental health evaluation.

“We would just request the record reflect the evaluation is being done at the State’s request and not the Defense’s,” Lonon said.

Both Hill and Lonon estimated it would take around 45 days for the evaluation to be completed and the report made ready.

Judge Keith Bowers Jr. scheduled Stapp to return to court on August 1 but noted if the report from the evaluation is completed before that date then the case could be moved up to an earlier court appearance.

Hill said he would draft an agreed order for the evaluation and have it submitted to the court before the end of the week.

The charges against Stapp stem from an incident on the morning of Thursday, May 4, when Stapp allegedly forced his way into a home in the Stoney Creek Community.

Deputies of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home on Mill Creek Road after a woman called 911 to report an armed subject forced his way into her home and was holding her husband hostage at gunpoint. The woman, Cynthia Cave, was able to escape the home and make it to a neighbor’s to call 911.

When officers arrived on the scene, they entered the garage and heard Stapp talking with the homeowner, Drew Cave.

“I then heard the suspect say he was going to make a phone call; then I heard him say he was going to either commit suicide or have the Sheriff’s Office kill him,” CCSO Deputy Cody James said. “Once he got off the phone I heard four or five gunshots in the house, then Sgt. Tranbarger, Deputy Johnson, and I took cover behind a car in the garage.”

James said Cave ran out of the house into the garage as the gunshots were going off and he took Cave behind a truck for his safety. While checking Cave for injuries, James said he saw a man matching the description of the suspect walking in the driveway facing him with a gun raised.

According to court documents, two officers then fired shots at Stapp before he fled down an embankment.

“Once down the embankment (Stapp) was approached by another officer who fired a shot at him leading to his surrender,” CCSO Investigator Michael Bean said in the affidavit of complaint against Stapp.

Following his arrest investigators interviewed Stapp regarding the incident.

“The defendant (said) that he waited for the victim outside of his home for several hours during the early morning hours,” Bean said. “When the victim raised the garage door the defendant entered the garage and held him at gunpoint. He ordered the victim back into the residence where they began talking.”

According to Bean, Stapp admitted to shooting at Cave as he attempted to flee.