BY KEN LITTLE
A Morristown woman was charged Wednesday in connection with the Feb. 1 robbery of an elderly woman in her Bulls Gap home.
Molena Nichole Dowell, 36, of 1544 Fish Hatchery Road, is charged with aggravated robbery, burglary and theft of property over $500, Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said in a news release.
The 86-year-old victim lives in the 1500 block of state Highway 66 South.
On Feb. 1, deputies responded to a complaint of a suspicious vehicle in the area of the woman's home, Lawson said.
A Hawkins County sheriff's deputy was on the phone with the woman who lives at the address.
She told the deputy she had heard a noise and laid the phone down. The deputy "heard her screaming and talking to someone," Lawson said.
When deputies arrived at the house, they discovered the victim's front door had been forced open. A large metal wrench was found on a bathroom floor.
The woman told deputies that a white female had broken out a window of her front door, reached in and unlocked the door, and entered her house.
"The unknown female met [the victim] at her bedroom door and told her she wasn't going to hurt her and wanted her money, and began to pull her through the hallway toward the kitchen," Lawson said.
The homeowner pulled a pistol and tried to shoot the female attacker, Lawson said.
"When the attacker tried to take the pistol from her, the weapon discharged, missing the attacker, who took the pistol and [the victim's] purse," Lawson said. The attacker then fled the house, leaving in a red car.
The victim's purse contained a bank card, checkbook and rings.
The victim suffered a minor injury to her right hand but did not want medical attention, the report said.
Sheriff Lawson said that on Feb. 2, Dowell sold a ring belonging to the victim at a Morristown pawn shop.
"Numerous other items of [the victim] were found to be in the vehicle Ms. Dowell was driving on Feb. 1," Lawson said.
On Wednesday, Hawkins County detectives learned Dowell had a recent injury to her right arm that was consistent with a grazing bullet wound, Lawson said.
"During an interview of Ms. Dowell by detectives, she confessed to entering [the victim's] home on Feb. 1, taking her property and struggling with [the victim] and being struck by a shot which [the victim] had fired at her from her pistol," Lawson said.
Dowell is held in the Hawkins County Jail. Bond amount or a court date had not been set on Wednesday afternoon.