W. Virginia pair gets 25, 30 years for robbing elderly

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A man and woman from West Virginia have been sentenced to at least 25 years in prison for robbing elderly retirees at gunpoint throughout West Virginia, Virginia and Tennessee.

Joshua Small, 52, and Joni Amber Johnson, 36, from Princeton, West Virginia, were sentenced Tuesday to 25 and 30 years in prison respectively. The pair were convicted of conspiracy to assault, kidnap, and rob elderly victims in July 2019.

Small and Johnson targeted elderly victims from May 2018 to July 2018, the Department of Justice said in a press release. The pair would force their way into residences at gunpoint and bind their victims’ hands and feet, the release said. In one instance, the pair broke into an 88-year-old woman’s home, ripped off her Life Alert necklace and struck her in the head, causing substantial wounds, the release said. In total, the pair terrorized seven people.

“This investigation demonstrates that the victimization of our elderly citizens will not be tolerated by law enforcement,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Joe Carrico said.

Small and Johnson also received five years of supervised released and were ordered to pay over $8,000 in restitution.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.