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Night of Terror for Elderly Man


At approximately 10 p.m. on the night of July 3, 75-year-old Harold Howser received a knock at the door of his Purtle Road residence.

A man on the other side, now known to be 20-year-old Travis Ervin, explains that his car has overheated and Mr. Howser gladly provides him with a gallon of water.

What Mr. Howser does not know is that Williams’ car is running just fine. In fact, he and two accomplices are there to rob him.
According to Macon County Sheriff Mark Gammons, Ervin pretended to pour the water in the vehicle outside and returned to the house, when Mr. Howser noticed a man dressed in all black lurking on the side of his house.
The 75-year-old then pulled a gun from the waistband of his pants and shot at the man, now known to be 22-year-old Christopher Mitchell, twice, before Ervin hit him with the gallon container and violently took the gun from his hand, causing injury.
The two men forced Mr. Howser into his home at gunpoint at which time they hit him and threatened to kill him. 
The suspects ransacked the house, taking weapons, a safe and Mr. Howser’s phone. 
“Travis Ervin pulled the trigger on the victim but the gun misfired,” stated the sheriff.  
Mitchell and Ervin led the 75-year-old outside into his yard at gunpoint and told him they would kill him if he contacted authorities. 
When Howser’s son arrived at the home the next morning, the Macon County Sheriff’s Department was contacted and an officer took Mr. Howser’s report.
One week after the incident, Sheriff Gammons says he was contacted by the Trousdale County Sheriffs Department about a stolen safe and firearm belonging to Mr. Howser found in their county at Mitchell’s residence.
“Further information led us to Travis Ervin and a third suspect – 23-year-old Richard Williams – both known associates of Christopher Mitchell,” the sheriff remarked. 
Mr. Howser identified both of his assaulters.
As it turns out, the third suspect, Richard Williams, was there during the robbery too – waiting in the car so that Mr. Howser wouldn’t recognize the ‘family friend.’
According to the sheriff, Williams told his buddies that Mr. Howser had $42,000 in cash stashed inside his home, which was the motive for the crime. 
All three men were arrested and held on $35,000 bonds. They are scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court on July 20. 
Ervin was charged with aggravated burglary, custodial interference, assault, theft of property and trespass: criminal aggravated. Mitchell is charged with aggravated burglary, aggravated kidnapping, assault, theft of property and trespass: criminal aggravated. Williams is charged with criminal attempt, custodial interference, assault, aggravated burglary, theft of property and conspiracy: criminal (felony).
“I would like to thank the Trousdale County Sheriffs Department for their help in this case,” said the sheriff. “I’d also like to thank the detectives here at the sheriffs’ office and those that helped give us tips to help solve this case.”