2 convicted of kidnapping in three-day trial in Federal Court

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A West Virginia man and woman were convicted of conspiracy to kidnap and kidnapping after a three-day trial in U.S. District Court.

Found guilty on Wednesday in the jury trial were Josh Small and Joni Amber Johnson of Princeton, W.Va.

Sentencing is set for Joni Amber Johnson on Nov. 25 and for Josh Small on Dec. 4 in Knoxville.

Both Johnson and Small face a sentence of up to life in prison. There is no parole in the federal prison system.

Evidence at trial revealed that on June 30, 2018, Small and Johnson used a gun to force their way into the home of a 73-year-old Tennessee woman and tied her up, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Small and Johnson then stole jewelry, firearms, cash, a knife, and other items from the victim before taking her phone and leaving her with her hands and feet bound, the news release said.

Small and Johnson were later arrested in West Virginia where Small was caught with several items stolen from the victim, according to the news release said.

The investigation that led to these convictions was the product of a partnership between the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office; Knox County Sheriff’s Office; Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office; Mercer County, West Virginia, Sheriff’s Office; Virginia State Police; Giles County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office; Montgomery County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office; Bland County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF); and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

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