No escape from federal prison for this East Tenn. career criminal
Jamie Satterfield Knoxville News Sentinel
Joshua Hayworth has vaulted over a barbed wire fence, climbed into a hospital ceiling, crashed cars, broken into houses and carjacked a pregnant woman in his attempts to run from the law, but on Thursday he could not escape a federal prison term of more than 16 years.
Chief U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan put an end to Hayworth's history of crime and escape attempts with a 200-month prison sentence Thursday despite Hayworth's last-ditch effort to wriggle free by declaring he was wrongfully convicted by a jury last year of robbery and carjacking.
"I'm not a bad person," Hayworth told the judge. "Yeah, I've gotten in trouble when I was young. I went to prison for that. But (since then) I done everything I was supposed to do."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Ann Norris called Hayworth an "unbelievable" liar as she successfully convinced the judge to boost Hayworth's punishment beyond the roughly 11-year sentence he initially faced for a 2014 robbery of a Lenoir City Burger King and a related carjacking of a woman who was nine months pregnant.
Records show Hayworth, 26, began committing crime as a teenager. His first escape attempt came in 2008 when he was 18 and darted through an open sally port door at the Loudon County jail, jumped onto the hood of a vehicle and vaulted himself into the air and over a barbed wire fence. He was recaptured after a chase that ended when a police dog ran Hayworth down and bit him.
While at a hospital, records show, Hayworth convinced a guard to uncuff one of his hands and allow him to use a restroom. Once uncuffed, he leaped from his wheelchair, ran into the bathroom, locked the door and climbed into the ceiling after removing a tile. He was caught yet again, although four Loudon County officers involved in both incidents wound up suspended.
Ultimately convicted of the robbery and theft charges that put him in the Loudon County jail in the first place, Hayworth went to state prison in 2011, where he met Timothy Chudley. According to a complaint filed by FBI Agent David Bukowski, the two men were on parole when Hayworth and Chudley, who had a job at the Lenoir City Burger King, plotted to rob the eatery. Chudley pretended to be a victim, and Hayworth hit him in the head with a gun for good measure, Bukowski wrote.
Hayworth later led authorities on a chase and crashed his getaway car, leaving behind his Tennessee Department of Correction identification card. He stole another vehicle but wound up crashing it in a chase with law enforcement. He then tried to break into a Knox County woman's trailer, but her dog attacked him, so he ran.
A short time later, Hayworth encountered the pregnant woman outside her house on Doubletree Lane and demanded her keys. She wound up falling to the ground with Hayworth on top of her in a struggle over the keys. After tossing her dog out of the car as he drove away, Hayworth wound up in yet another chase. This, too, ended in a crash. He ran into a house, where he tried to hide under a couch as agents with the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force converged on the home.
Hayworth testified at his July trial he committed none of those crimes, despite Chudley's testimony, DNA left on the cloth he used to cover his face in the robbery and various videos connecting him to the vehicles he stole and crashed.
"He doesn't care about anyone or anything," Norris said. "He's shown this court what he's capable of and what he will do."
Chudley is serving a 151-month prison term in the Burger King robbery.