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Chilhowee resident charged with kidnapping, domestic assault, burning a vehicle

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CHILHOWEE — A Chilhowee resident is facing charges in Johnson County Circuit Court for allegedly abusing his partner and attempting to light a vehicle on fire.

The defendant, Johnathon Helmig, was charged with a class D felony charge of second-degree kidnapping, a class D felony charge of second-degree domestic assault, a class E felony charge of third-degree domestic assault and a class E felony charge of knowingly burning or exploding on Friday, June 4, in Johnson County Circuit Court.

Helmig was arraigned on the charges and pleaded not guilty in his first court appearance Monday, June 7.

According to the court’s probable cause statement, on June 2, a Johnson County Sheriff’s Office sergeant made contact with the defendant and victim in the yard of a rural Johnson County address. 

The sergeant reported observing the victim near a vehicle with smoke emitting from it. 

When speaking with the victim, the sergeant stated they noticed extreme swelling under the victim’s left eye that was discolored to a dark purple along with a small amount of blood as well as two horizontal scratches on the right side of the victim’s neck, which appeared to be red and swollen. 

The victim told the sergeant that Helmig tried to set the vehicle fire without them inside. The victim also said Helmig punched them in the face several times with a closed fist and strangled them to the point they could not breathe but remained conscious. 

The victim advised the sergeant that the argument began when Helmig told the victim to leave the address. The victim said when they attempted to leave, Helmig decided they wanted the victim to stay and he threw nails on the ground in an attempt to damage the vehicle’s tires.

The probable cause statement states the victim sought medical treatment for their injuries at a local hospital.

According to the probable cause statement, on or about June 3, the defendant knowingly restrained the victim unlawfully and without consent, interfering with the victim’s liberty and exposing the victim to a substantial risk of serious physical injury.

After reviewing the defendant’s criminal history, the sergeant found the defendant was previously arrested for animal abuse in 2000, a probation violation in 2008 and property damage in 2020.

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