A Tennessee woman reportedly beat a man with a baseball bat after he tried to break into and burgle her home.
Joe Sotello, 34, reportedly attempted to break into the 52-year-old woman's Kingsport home on April 29. The woman heard a knock on her door and greeted a woman who said she was passing out flyers to search for a missing dog, KCPQ reports. When she opened the door for the woman, Sotello jumped out at her wearing a mask.
Sotello allegedly grabbed the homeowner's arm, trying to pull her outside. When he wasn't able to drag her out, he pushed her into the door, yelling, "This is a robbery!" The 52-year-old struggled with Sotello and pulled his mask off, realizing that he was a family friend, reports WBIR.
When the homeowner saw what appeared to be a gun on Sotello, she grabbed a baseball bat from behind the home's door and beat the man with it in what a police press report called "clearly justifiable self-defense."
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The woman, who was significantly older and reportedly a foot shorter than Sotello at only 4 feet 11 inches tall, managed to drive the man off, police said, according to WBIR.
"Yet, despite being at a clear physical disadvantage, she successfully defended herself and her home from Mr. Sotello’s unprovoked attack," said Kingsport police.
According to authorities, Sotello attempted to get into the car of the woman who had been carrying flyers, later identified as Sotello's girlfriend. The homeowner and two 18-year-old women who were at the house during the robbery reportedly stopped him.
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"Mr. Sotello attempted to get into the car with her," said police, "however, he could not escape the three women who continued to get the better of him."
Stella got away from the three women, but he was later caught when he went to the home of one of the women's relatives, where he got into another struggle. The relative reportedly held Sotello until the police arrived at the scene.
Sotello admitted to the attempted robbery, saying that he "had been going through some hard times," the Kingsport Times-News reports.
He was charged with aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery, and is being held on $35,000 bail. He was taken to a hospital due to his injuries.
Sotello's girlfriend said that she had cooperated with the man because she was afraid of him, and that she did not know what he had planned to do. She has reportedly not been charged with any crimes.