Fugitive Dead in Standoff

BLACKSTOCK (Aug. 3, 2016) – A Tennessee fugitive wanted on federal firearms violations is dead and his wife in custody after a standoff of more than three hours last week at the couple’s home in Blackstock.

Fairfield County Coroner Barkley Ramsey said former Chattanooga, Tenn. resident Joseph Daniel Roberts, 41, was pronounced dead at 9:15 a.m. July 28 in his camper home at 2068 Mt. Olive Church Road. The cause of death, Ramsey said, was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head from a .40 caliber handgun.

Fairfield County Sheriff Will Montgomery said deputies from his office as well as agents from the S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED) arrived at the home at approximately 5:30 a.m. last Thursday to assist agents from the U.S. Marshal’s Office in their execution of an arrest warrant on Roberts. Shortly after law enforcement arrived, Roberts’ wife, Brooke Nicole Roberts, emerged from the home and surrendered. Roberts, however, refused to come out and barricaded himself inside.

Officers began negotiations with Roberts in an attempt to encourage him to surrender. The talks went on until approximately 8:55 a.m., at which time officers heard a gunshot from inside the home. When officers entered the camper home, they found Roberts had shot himself.

“While we are disappointed by the outcome, we are thankful no one else was injured during this incident,” Montgomery said. “At no time did Mr. Roberts ever threaten law enforcement officers who were on the scene that day and there was never any gunfire exchanged between Roberts and these officers. We wish that Mr. Roberts would have allowed the criminal justice process to take its course.”

Brooke Roberts was arrested and charged with obstruction of justice. She was transported to the Fairfield County Detention Center.

Ramsey said Joseph Roberts had been on the run for nearly four years, but how and why he and his wife came to Fairfield County is still a mystery. Montgomery said the couple had no Fairfield County connections, and they might have remained off the radar of the feds for longer had Brooke Roberts not surfaced on public records as having purchased the 6.5 acres on Mt. Olive Church Road last May.

County records show Brooke Roberts purchased the property from Stanley Brandon on May 9 for $20,000. The records on file with the County show her mailing address as 8926 Ellis Lane in Powell, Tenn., a town just to the northwest of Knoxville.

A spokesperson for SLED referred all questions from The Voice to the U.S. Marshal’s Office. Phone calls to the U.S. Marshal’s Easter District of Tennessee Office in Knoxville were not returned at press time.