Skip to main content
Press Release

Federal Jury Convicts Two of Kidnapping Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On July 10, 2019, following a three-day trial before Chief Judge Pamela Reeves of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, a jury convicted Josh Small and Joni Amber Johnson of Princeton, West Virginia, of conspiracy to kidnap and kidnapping.   Sentencing is set for Joni Amber Johnson on November 25, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. and for Josh Small on December 4, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. in United States District Court in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

Both Joni Amber Johnson and Josh 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.  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. Small and Johnson were later arrested in West Virginia where Small was caught with several items stolen from the victim.

            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). 

Assistant United States Attorneys Alan Kirk and Kevin Quencer represented the United States at trial.

Updated October 7, 2019