Case bound over to Grand Jury when defendant fails to show up for hearing

Published 4:31 pm Friday, January 5, 2018

The case against a Watauga man facing charges in connection with a stolen vehicle will now move to Criminal Court following the man’s failure to appear for a court hearing on Friday.

Deputies of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office arrested Jess Blevins, 44, of 288 Cripple Creek Loop, Watauga, on Sept. 11, 2017, and charged him with possession of drug paraphernalia, unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon, and criminal responsibility for facilitation of a felony.

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Blevins was scheduled to appear in Carter County General Sessions Court on Friday for a preliminary hearing in his case. According to the Carter County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, Blevins failed to show up for the hearing. The District Attorney’s Office asked the court to bind the case over to the Carter County Grand Jury in Blevins’ absence.

General Sessions Court Judge Keith Bowers Jr. granted that request and scheduled Blevins to appear in Carter County Criminal Court on March 19.

The charges against Blevins stem from an investigation by the CCSO after deputies responded to a report of a suspicious person on Old Watauga Road on Sept. 11 shortly before 10 p.m. According to police reports, a 911 caller told dispatchers that someone with a large truck was at her neighbor’s garage.

When CCSO Deputy Jason Mosier responded to the scene, he reported finding Blevins working on a Kenworth tractor and trailer truck. Mosier said Blevins told officers he was helping the driver of the truck, who he identified as Brandon Ollis, work on the truck’s brakes. While speaking with Blevins, Mosier observed a pistol in his pocket and retrieved the weapon and secured it.

Mosier said he then went to speak with Ollis, but realized Ollis had fled the scene on foot while the officer had been speaking with Blevins. Officers then began searching the area for Ollis but were unable to locate the man.

Deputies located a silver Volkswagen at the scene, and Blevins told officers it was his car and he had driven it to that location.

“During the investigation, I remembered seeing the tractor and trailer on Elizabethton Highway and noticed the Volkswagen was following closely behind it earlier that evening,” Mosier said. “Robert admitted that he had been following Brandon but was unable to tell me why.”

During the investigation, Mosier and Sgt. David Caldwell spoke with the owner of the Kenworth tractor, Earl Ponder, who told the officers no one should be out in his truck and that he did not know Ollis or Blevins.

“He stated they must have stolen the truck from Burnsville, N.C.,” Mosier said. “We then instructed Mr. Ponder to contact the law enforcement agency in Burnsville to report the truck stolen.”

“During the investigation, there were multiple two-way radios found in both the tractor and Volkswagen,” Mosier continued. “One of the radios found in the tractor was set to the same frequency as one found in the Volkswagen. Also, the registration of the Kenworth was located in the passenger’s seat of the Volkswagen.”

When officers searched the Volkswagen, Mosier said they saw a glass pipe on the seat in the car and Blevins admitted to using methamphetamine.

Deputies arrested Blevins and charged him with possession of drug paraphernalia, unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon, and criminal responsibility for facilitation of a felony.