An 18-year-old man pulled over twice in the last two months with a carload of probation-laden passengers, drugs and illegal guns received some friendly advice from a judge Wednesday morning.
"I believe I'd find different people to be hanging out with if I were you," Sessions Court Judge Lila Statom told Jonathan Horton.
But Statom was not as kind to Horton's three most recent passengers.
The group was riding through East Chattanooga when police pulled them over Friday and charged all four with carrying a dangerous weapon with intent to go armed.
At their first court appearance on that charge, Statom revoked bond for Mardarreius Adams, 19, who was on diversion from February charges, and sent Devontae Billingsly, 19, to the jail to be booked for violating probation.
A fourth passenger, Jamichael Smith, 21, failed to appear in court and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
The charges came after a police officer clocked the gold Chevrolet SUV driven by Horton traveling 4 mph over the speed limit on Roanoke Avenue and followed the vehicle before initiating a traffic stop.
Another investigator was called to assist and found that someone in the SUV had tossed out a loaded Glock pistol. A small bag of marijuana also was found in the vehicle.
In a similar incident on April 11, Horton was driving with two passengers on Brainerd Road just after midnight when police pulled him over and found a loaded .40 caliber handgun in the glove box that had been stolen.
The man in the passenger seat that night was Lee Clements Jr.
Both men and the third passenger were charged with carrying a dangerous weapon with the intent to go armed.
Clements, also known as "Tone Tone," was charged in the unsolved March 2013 shooting death of Eric Fluellen that the newspaper chronicled in December's "Speak No Evil" series. He was not indicted on those charges but has an otherwise long criminal history.
Horton and the three passengers from Friday's traffic stop are next scheduled to appear in court July 15, while Clements will appear next week.
Despite the criminal pasts of his passengers, Horton's adult criminal record is clear aside from the charges associated with the two recent traffic stops.
"I would stay at home with my family until I came back to court," Statom said to him. "I know it's summer, but I would stay home and I wouldn't answer my phone when people call."
Contact staff writer David Cobb at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6731.