KINGSPORT, Tenn. - With the help of a baseball bat, a 52-year-old East Tennessee woman foiled one man's home invasion plans and landed him in jail.
According to Kingsport police, the victim answered a knock at her door Saturday night to find a woman holding a flyer about a lost dog.
Right when she opened the door, a masked man stepped into the doorway, grabbed her arm, and tried to pull her outside. When the woman wouldn't budge, police said the man pushed the woman back inside the home and shouted, "This is a robbery!"
The two then struggled and the woman partially removed the suspect's mask and recognized him as Joe M. Sotello, a longtime family friend.
After seeing what appeared to be a handgun in his waistband, the victim grabbed a baseball bat from behind the door and fought back in "clearly justifiable self-defense," according to a Kingsport PD release.
Two 18-year-old women who were also inside the home then joined in driving Sotello out of the house and onto the front lawn. The woman who had been holding the flyer, later identified as Sotello's girlfriend, drove off.
"Mr. Sotello attempted to get into the car with her; however, he could not escape the three women who continued to get the better of him," the release noted.
Authorities explained that Sotello was eventually able to run away, but then showed up at a home belonging to one of the victim's relatives. He got into a fight there too and the relative detained Sotello until police arrived.
He has been charged with aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. His girlfriend told police she cooperated out of fear and has currently not been charged.
Police said that Sotello confessed to the crime, stating that he “had been going through some hard times.” He is being held in the Sullivan County Jail on a $35,000 bond.
Kingsport police also noted that the victim, at only 4 feet, 11 inches tall, was one foot shorter than her attacker and 18 years older than him.
"Yet, despite being at a clear physical disadvantage, she successfully defended herself and her home from Mr. Sotello’s unprovoked attack," the release said.
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