A Loudon County Tennessee resident charged with violating the Hobbs Act and Carjacking recently received a 16-year sentence due to crimes committed early last year, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
At trial, the government introduced evidence that Joshua Hayworth, 25, of Loudon, TN, used an air soft pistol on January 30th2014, to rob the Burger King on Simpson Rd. in Lenoir City, Tennessee. Hayworth held the employees at gunpoint and threatened violence if they did not fill his bag with money from the safe. An employee, Timothy Chudley, who was later determined to be in on the robbery, was struck in the head by the pistol causing him to bleed. Hayward wrecked his getaway vehicle less than one mile from the robbery and fled the scene of the accident. He left behind evidence such as his ID card, personal prescription meds, cell phone and money scattered all over the scene and highway. Texts between Hayworth and Chudley found in the cell phone provided proof that the scheme was planned in advance.
Chudley was taken into custody not long after the incident and charged with violating The Hobbs Act. Hayworth was not located until four days later on February 3rd, when he wrecked a stolen vehicle in west Knoxville. Hayworth obtained the vehicle by carjacking a woman who was at full term pregnancy and due within the week. He wrestled the keys from her, overpowering her and taking the vehicle. The woman, concerned for her unborn child who had stopped moving after the incident, was seen in the ER and thankfully, Mom and baby were both deemed healthy.
The Hobbs Act, named after Congressman Sam Hobbs, was enacted in 1946 and is applied when a criminal or criminals use robbery or extortion to obtain something which affects commerce. The Hobbs Act is codified at 18 U.S.C. § 1951. Hayworth was charged with Hobbs Act Robbery and Carjacking and later convicted, on March 10th, 2016 by Honorable Thomas A. Varlin, US District Court Chief Judge, of the same charges. Hayworth received a federal sentence of 200 months, (over 16 years).