Domestic abuser, meth dealer gets prison

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Austin Rudd

A Knoxville man got an 11-year sentence for attacking his girlfriend and plotting to sell methamphetamine early this year, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Austin Kane Rudd, 25, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault and one count of intent to sell more than a half-gram of methamphetamine, according to the Knox County District Attorney General’s Office.

“We are glad that this agreement provided for the safety of this victim,” said DA Charme Allen, who pointed out that police in Knox County are currently responding to a domestic violence call an average of once every 30 minutes. 

On March 6 of this year, officers from the Knoxville Police Department responded to a domestic disturbance. When KPD Officer Tucker Pate reached the scene, Rudd’s ex-girlfriend told him that Rudd had kicked in her front door, thrown a plate of her and then punched her several times in the head, said DA’s spokesperson Sean McDermott in a press release. 

“Rudd then started hitting the victim with a broom handle and choking the victim until she started feeling light-headed,” McDermott said. “The victim was able to break free and call 911. Rudd fled the scene, leaving the victim bruised and bleeding.”

A few days later Rudd managed to find the woman  in her car near West Town Mall and threatened to ram her if she didn’t pull over.

“Rudd also told her that if she did not have sex with him, he was going to kick her teeth in and then kill her and her children. KPD Officer Christopher Ott located Rudd near the O’Charley’s on Kingston Pike. Rudd attempted to flee in his vehicle but drove over the curb and hit a parked car,” McDermott said.

Although he was arrested and booked on two counts of aggravated assault, Rudd managed to make bond. It didn’t take long, however, for him to find himself in felonious trouble yet again.

On April 18, Rudd was stopped in the West Town Mall parking lot in a stolen Ford Mustang by Knox County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matthew Johnson. A search of the car turned up drugs and drug paraphernalia, including methamphetamine, according to McDermott.  

“Rudd told officers he did not know the Mustang was stolen and was not at the mall to sell drugs,” McDermott said. “Rudd insisted that officers look in his phone to prove this and provided his passcode. Looking in the phone, officers found messages both arranging drug transactions and discussing removing the VIN on the Mustang so it could be legally registered.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Willie Lane and Jake Ens. 

The plea agreement was accepted by Criminal Court Judge Steve Sword, who ordered Rudd to serve his 11-year sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction, McDermott said. 

Published on May 20, 2021