GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Former fugitive and downtown Johnson City businessman Sean Williams tried to escape from the Washington County Detention Center July 23, a new count in federal charges against him alleges.
Williams, who is at the center of two lawsuits against the City of Johnson City and some of its police officers, will face an appearance hearing Thursday over the second count in a federal indictment against him. He already faces a charge of being a felon in possession of ammunition and was on the lam for nearly two years after Johnson City police unsuccessfully attempted to serve a warrant on him in early May 2021.
A “superseding indictment” filed Monday in federal court added the second count. It references a grand jury charging that “on or about July 23, 2023,” Williams “did knowingly attempt to escape from custody in the Washington County Detention Center.”
Williams, who was arrested on drug charges in western North Carolina on April 29, was transferred to federal custody in early May. He was initially held in a North Carolina jail but transferred to Jonesborough later that month.
The updated indictment provides no details about the alleged escape attempt, and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office referred News Channel 11 inquiries to the U.S. Marshal’s Service or the First Judicial District Attorney.
Williams is set to make an appearance hearing on the new charge Thursday afternoon. Following that, there is a hearing scheduled on his motion to suppress a September 2020 search warrant as part of the evidence in his ammunition trial.
That 2020 search warrant was drawn up and executed by the Johnson City Police Department hours after a woman named Mikayla Evans fell from Williams’s fifth-story apartment window downtown. A search warrant a few days later allowed a search of Williams’s safe, which allegedly contained the 257 rounds of ammunition that, as a convicted felon, he was not lawfully permitted to possess.
Possession of ammunition by a felon is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, while the federal code allows a sentence of up to five years for attempted escape from custody.