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August 16, 2011

Department of Justice

United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee


GREENEVILLE, Tenn.– Joseph Smallwood, 31, and Jennifer Smallwood, 31, both of Speedwell, Tenn., and Vanessa Patridge, 26, of Gatlinburg, Tenn., were sentenced on August 15, 2011, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Greeneville, by the Honorable J. Ronnie Greer, U.S. District Judge, for their roles in the April 9, 2010, robbery of Consumer Credit Union in Morristown, Tenn. All three entered guilty pleas on May 25, 2011.

Joseph Smallwood admitted that he aided and abetted Dale Walker Johnson in the robbery of Consumer Credit Union and put another person’s life in jeopardy by the use of a firearm. He was sentenced to 90 months in prison. Jennifer Smallwood was sentenced to 30 months in prison and Vanessa Patridge was sentenced to 21 months in prison for being accessories after the fact to robbery. In addition to prison sentences, the Court ordered $15,122.00 in restitution and a $100 special assessment for each defendant. Additionally, each will serve three years of supervised release after release from prison.

On April 9, 2010, a male entered the Consumer Credit Union, in Morristown, gave the teller a note demanding money, then showed her a gun in his waistband. When the teller gave him the money from her drawer, he put the money in his bag and left the bank in a van with a male driver. Joseph Smallwood and co-defendant Dale Johnson, who will be sentenced on November 14, 2011, planned and committed the bank robbery.

Both Jennifer Smallwood and Vanessa Patridge admitted that they knew Joseph Smallwood and Dale Johnson were planning to rob a bank, and each provided support for the robbers of the credit union after the robbery.

This investigation was conducted by the Morristown Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert M. Reeves represented the United States.

U.S. Attorney Bill Killian commended the Morristown Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the investigation of this violent robbery. U.S. Attorney Killian noted, “This robbery, as with many other we are seeing ,was related to the abuse of prescription drugs. We continue to see an increase in violent crime committed by individuals trying to support an addiction to oxycodone and other opiates. Our office is committed to working with state and local law enforcement to protect our citizens from the violence we are seeing associated with the abuse and illegal distribution of these drugs. “

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a comprehensive national strategy that creates local partnerships with law enforcement agencies to effectively enforce existing gun laws. It provides more options to prosecutors, allowing them to utilize local, state, and federal laws to ensure that criminals who commit gun crime face tough sentences. PSN gives each federal district the flexibility it needs to focus on individual challenges that a specific community faces.

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