Bristol murder suspect Johnny Royston, Jr. held on $300,000 bond

BRISTOL, TN (WJHL) –  The suspect at the center of a multi-day manhunt appeared before a judge this morning and was arraigned on charges of second-degree murder and drug possession.

Johnny Royston, Jr. was arraigned in court this morning as is being held on a $300,000 bond.

His next court appearance is scheduled for July 18.

Royston was captured on Emmett Road in Bristol, TN around 10 p.m. on Monday. He was wanted for the second-degree murder, in connection to the death of 44-year-old Rowdy Yates man in Sullivan County.

Prior to his arrest, deputies and local law enforcement received numerous tips on his whereabouts.

Washington County, VA Sheriff Fred Newman said there has been a possible sighting of Johnny Royston, Jr. on Tranbarger Road around 9:50 a.m. on Monday.

Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office officials revealed Monday afternoon Royston could have been driving a stolen 2004 Black Nissan Sentra with the tag “LOWES6”, with possibly blue tape on the left taillight.

Authorities originally classified him as a person of interest but Sheriff Wayne Anderson revealed Monday morning that he was a suspect in the shooting death investigation. Anderson said they issued a warrant late Saturday night for second-degree murder.

Authorities with the Bristol, Virginia Police Department told News Channel 11 they last saw  Royston on Sunday near exit 5 in Bristol off Interstate 81.

According to police, Royston was spotted at a  Shell gas station off the interstate. In addition, police said they received a call about a vehicle  Royston Jr. could possibly be in.

An officer located that vehicle parked at a gas pump. According to a clerk at that gas station, Royston took off running to the other side when police pulled up. He was inside the car with a family member. Police believe he ran towards Old Abingdon Highway.

Captain Maynard Ratcliff, with Bristol, VA Police Dept., told News Channel 11 the family member in the car was his mother, Patty Royston. Ratcliff said she is now charged with giving false information to police.

According to officials with SCSO, they responded to a home on Eatons Private Drive in Bristol, TN early Saturday morning. When deputies arrived they discovered a man, Rowdy Yates, unconscious with an apparent gunshot wound lying beside a camper in the woods.

Investigators searched the area, looking for evidence and potential witnesses, and identified Royston as a suspect in connection to the case.

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