ERWIN — A capias has been issued for the Carter County man charged last May with allegedly attempting to take a group of hikers hostage at the Beauty Spot lookout on Unaka Mountain.
Marcus Birchfield, 962 Hampton Creek Road, Roan Mountain, was scheduled to appear in Criminal Court for a plea deadline hearing but did not appear in court.
Judge Lynn Brown ordered a capias for his arrest. Birchfield was arrested in May and charged with five counts of aggravated kidnapping and one count each of unlawful possession of a weapon, criminal impersonation, simple possession of a Schedule II drug and possession of drug paraphernalia.
A Unicoi County grand jury indicted Birchfield on these charges in October. Sheriff Mike Hensley said last May he received the report of a man holding several hikers hostage at the Beauty Spot lookout.
The caller reported a man claiming to be a game warden had approached the group of five campers with a gun drawn and had ordered them to get down on their hands and knees, Hensley said.
As officials began to ascend the mountain to get to the scene, a second 911 came in, this time advising officials that the hikers, two of whom were U.S. Coast Guard officers, had removed Birchfield’s gun from his possession and were able to subdue him, Hensley said.
Hensley said the gun found in Birchfield’s possession was fully loaded and he was also found to be in possession of a bottle containing oxycodone and a sniffing straw.