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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • 2 men, woman arrested after manhunt

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  • Carter County Sheriff Milton Anthony commended deputies for the non-lethal apprehension of three people who became the targets of a manhunt Friday.
    Although rumors circulated the manhunt involved "shots fired," Anthony said the reports were simply not factual.
    "There were no shots fired at any time," he said. "All three suspects were taken into custody without incident. The deputies did an outstanding job of bringing this case to a successful and peaceful conclusion."
    The search began about 9:30 a.m. after an Edgewood Road resident, who had reported his pickup stolen Thursday afternoon, told deputies he had seen his pickup on state Highway 199 traveling toward Dickson. Deputies converged on the area, spotting the stolen truck as it fled on Ponderosa Road at a high rate of speed.
    The manhunt expanded, and about 1:15 p.m., the stolen truck was recovered and Erika Nesmith, also known as Erika Paul, 26, and 22-year-old Clayton Paul were captured in the 1300 block of Gene Autry Road.
    "They turned into a drive, and a girl jumped out and tried to shut the gate on the deputy," Anthony said.
    The lockout was unsuccessful. Paul and another man abandoned Nesmith, fleeing in the truck, while the woman tried to run on foot. Nesmith was apprehended immediately.
    Anthony said as Nesmith was being handcuffed, Paul and the third suspect, identified as Cody Barnes, "came around the side of a building, yelling at the deputy to leave the girl alone." Paul was taken into custody, but Barnes managed to flee on foot into the woods.
    When deputies seized the stolen truck at the scene, they found some additional unexpected stolen property.
    "There was a motorcycle in the back of the truck that had been reported stolen from the city of Ardmore," Anthony said.
    While Nesmith and Paul were booked into the Carter County Detention Center pending charges of possession of stolen property and eluding police, the search continued for Barnes.
    About 4 p.m., the sheriff confirmed a rural resident had reported seeing Barnes exit the woods on Dogwood Road. Two hours later, Barnes was captured without incident inside a barn on Gene Autry Road.
    "The owner of the barn called us and told us he had seen a suspicious man enter the barn. We got out there and found him inside the barn," Anthony told The Ardmoreite via phone, adding Dickson police had assisted in the arrest of Barnes.
    The 22-year-old Barnes joined Nesmith and Paul in the CCDC, where he was booked in on pending charges that included grand larceny, burglary, obstruction and attempt to destroy evidence.
    The sheriff had high praise for the citizens who provided pivotal information that led to Barnes' arrest.
    Page 2 of 2 - "Citizens, like these men, who are alert to their surroundings and report suspicious or unusual information immediately play a vital role in these kinds of situations. They are our extra eyes and ears and, in essence, are an important part of crime detection as well as helping to deter crime. They are certainly to be commended for their efforts," he said.
    Formal charges are expected to be filed against the trio Monday.
    Ironically, Barnes also faces charges in Jefferson County, where he is slated to stand trial on Feb. 10 for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
    Paul, too, has a criminal history that includes a conviction in Carter County of two counts of grand larceny.
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