Sullivan County

Bonding company owner charged

Police say Ralph Hawkins hired convicted felon

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - The owner of a local bonding company is charged in connection with a shooting that left a bounty hunter dead.

According to the Sullivan County DA's office, Ralph B. Hawkins is charged with hiring a convicted felon to act as an agent of the bondsman.

We're told Hawkins is the owner of Tri-Cities Bonding. Assistant District Attorney Lesley Foglia said Hawkins unlawfully and knowingly hired Joseph Scott Horne to bring in a fugitive.

However, Bristol, Tennessee police say Horne confronted the wrong man in August. The two men got into a struggle and Horne was shot with his own gun. He later died from the wound.

If Hawkins is convicted, he faces up to a year in jail for the misdemeanor charge and could lose his bonding license.

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