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Woman uses baseball bat to beat up burglar who forced himself through her door

By Mason White 4:36 PM May 17, 2017
Joe M. Sotello
Joe M. Sotello
By: Mason White

(Scroll down for video) A middle-aged woman did not allow herself to become a victim of a burglary by using baseball bat to beat the thief, according to police in Tennessee.

The Kingsport Police Department said that on Saturday at approximately 9:00 p.m., officers responded to 3927 Bond Drive, in reference to a report of a home invasion that had apparently gone horribly wrong for the suspect.

The 52-year-old homeowner answered a knock at her door to find a woman holding a flyer about a lost dog.

As soon as she opened the door, a masked man stepped into the doorway, grabbed her arm, and attempted to pull her outside.

When this initial assault proved unsuccessful, the masked man pushed the resident back inside the home and shouted: “This is a robbery!”

A struggle ensued, during which time the victim was able to partially remove the mask from the suspect’s face. In doing so, she immediately recognized the man as 34-year-old Joe M. Sotello, a longtime family friend.

She also noticed what appeared to be a handgun tucked in Sotello’s waistband. The victim grabbed a baseball bat from behind the door and fought back in clearly justifiable self-defense.

Two teenage witnesses, both 18 years old, were in the residence at the time, and joined in clearly justifiable third-party defense of the victim.

Together, the three women physically drove Sotello out of the house and onto the front lawn. The woman who had been holding the flyer, who was later determined to be Sotello’s girlfriend, fled to a silver Honda.

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.

His girlfriend fled the scene in the vehicle, while Sotello was eventually able to escape and flee on foot.

While still on scene, officers received new information that Sotello had surfaced at the residence of one of the victim’s relatives, located in the 200 block of Archdale Drive.

Another fight had erupted there, with the relative ultimately detaining Sotello until police arrival. After initially declining medical treatment, Sotello was arrested for aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary.

He was transported to the Kingsport City Jail.

Due to injuries inflicted upon him during the commission of his crime and out of an abundance of caution, he was later taken to a hospital for medical clearance before being incarcerated back in the Kingsport City Jail.

After giving several false statements regarding the incident and his whereabouts, Sotello eventually confessed to his crime, stating that he “had been going through some hard times.”

His girlfriend came to the Justice Center on her own volition and confessed that her limited involvement in this incident had been done out of fear of Sotello, and that she had no idea what he actually had planned to do.

At this time, she has not been charged.

Sotello has since been transferred to the Sullivan County Jail in Blountville, where he remains confined, pending arraignment, in lieu of a $35,000 bond.