Two Tennessee men who went on a crime spree in January 2018 that led to a manhunt and their capture in Marion County have been sentenced in federal court to prison terms of more than 12 years each.
Dewayne Halfacre, 45, and Timothy Howell, 54, each were charged with four federal counts of robbery and a single federal count of conspiracy to commit robbery stemming from a string of criminal acts in December 2017 and January 2018 that started in the Nashville area and ended near Powells Crossroads in Marion County, according to federal court records.
District Judge William L. Campbell Jr. sentenced Howell on the five federal counts in June and Halfacre, who netted a longer prison term, was sentenced on his federal counts by Campbell last week. Both cases were filed in Tennessee's middle district federal court in Nashville, records show.
Halfacre was sentenced to 232 months in federal prison, adjusted by 32 months for time he served on a state conviction in the Marion County Jail in Jasper, Tennessee, records show, resulting in a net sentence of about 16 years and eight months. Halfacre also must serve a three-year term of supervised release, and he was ordered to pay $3,770 in restitution and a special assessment of $500.
Howell was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison, or about 12 years and seven months, and he must serve a three-year term of supervised release, according to court records. Howell also was ordered to pay $3,770 in restitution and a special assessment of $500. Howell is to serve his federal term concurrent with any state sentences issued on pending cases from January 2018 in Montgomery County and Trousdale County in Tennessee and a pending case from June 2019 in Catoosa County, Georgia, records state.
The federal sentences stem from a crime spree that began in late 2017 with three robberies in Nashville starting Dec. 16, 2017, at the Mapco convenience store on Highway 70 South, then Dec. 21, 2017, at the Delta Express store on Old Hickory Boulevard and on Jan. 13, 2018, at the Shell store on White Bridge Road, court records show. On Jan. 19, 2018, the pair robbed the Almaville Market in Almaville, Tennessee, records show, concluding the incidents that led to the federal charges.
During each of these robberies, the two men took cash from the register and other items. They threatened store employees with a box cutter during two robberies and a handgun during the others, according to a statement on the sentences issued by U.S. Attorney Don Cochran.
Cochran said court records also show Halfacre and Howell engaged in other criminal acts during the same time period, including robbing an 81-year-old woman in Clarksville, Tennessee, on Dec. 16, 2017; attempting to break into the Family Market in Rockvale, Tennessee, on Jan. 16, 2018; burglarizing Oldham's Market in Hartsville, Tennessee, on Jan. 18, 2018; robbing a Mapco store in Ringgold, Georgia, on Jan. 22, 2018, and less than an hour later attempting to burglarize Andy's Market in South Pittsburg, Tennessee.
Halfacre was being held in the Rutherford County Jail in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on Oct. 10, 2018, when he and another inmate assaulted a correctional officer and escaped, Cochran said in the statement. The men stole a nearby vehicle and hid in abandoned houses for about 36 hours before being captured, Cochran said.
The men were on the run after robbing the Almaville store when they turned up in Marion County's South Pittsburg, the Times Free Press reported at the time.
On Jan. 22, 2018, Marion County authorities launched a search for the pair after they allegedly led officers on a chase after a break-in at Andy's Market in South Pittsburg, Marion County officials said in 2018.
Around 4 a.m. CDT on Jan. 23, 2018, an officer on the other side of the county in Whitwell, Tennessee, spotted a car matching the description of one connected to the South Pittsburg incident. The Whitwell officers tried to stop the vehicle but the driver fled and crashed on a dead-end road, where Howell was taken into custody and Halfacre eluded capture, officials said at the time.
Later the same day, a part-time officer who was on his return from transporting a prisoner heard a dispatcher relaying information about a man spotted near a church in Whitwell. The officer was nearby and soon spotted the man he believed was the suspect headed toward the home of an elderly woman, Marion County Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett said during the 2018 manhunt.
The officer confronted the man, later identified as Halfacre, who allegedly pulled out a firearm and began to struggle with him, eventually getting possession of the officer's patrol car, Burnett said at the time. More officers reached the site and chased the stolen patrol car until it blew out a tire and crashed, with Halfacre again evading capture by fleeing into some woods near the town of Powells Crossroads. Authorities at that point scaled back the search for two days, and some thought Halfacre left the area, but he hadn't.
On Jan. 26, 2018, Halfacre was found at a vacant house on State Route 283, about three miles from Powells Crossroads City Hall. He surrendered peacefully, authorities said at the time.
Halfacre and Howell have already dealt with state charges stemming from their crimes in Marion County, 12th Judicial District Attorney General Mike Taylor said Wednesday.
"I'm glad they're off the street, and I hope they stay off the street for a long time," Burnett said Wednesday.
Contact Ben Benton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.