Kingsport woman fights off burglar twice her size with baseball bat


KINGSPORT, Tenn. - An attempted burglary in Kingsport goes horribly wrong, for the burglar. Police say 34-year-old, Joe Sotello and his girlfriend, tried to con their way into a Kingsport home for the purpose of stealing, however the three women inside fought back.

Standing at only four feet and eight inches, Lisa Morelock may seem small, but that didn't stop her from fighting off an attacker more than twice her size.

"I guess that was a shock to his system," said Lisa Morelock.

Over the weekend Morelock answered a knock at her door to find a woman who claimed she needed help finding her lost dog. When she pulled back the door a man in a black ski mask, who authorities have identified as Sotello, jumped out and tried to pull Morelock outside.

"He said 'this is a robbery'," said Morelock. "It was like we were playing football and I was the smallest quarterback in the world."

Sotello continuously tried to force his way into the home, Morelock said when she saw his gun she grabbed a baseball bat she keeps by the front door to defend herself.

Her 18-year-old daughter and a friend were inside and immediately helped her fight him off.

"I guess I'm proud of us because we defended ourselves," said Morgan Morelock. "I just hate that it had to happen."

During the ordeal, Lisa Morelock managed to pull back Sotello's mask and see his face, it was someone she knew.

"I was shocked," said Lisa Morelock. "I've known him close to 15 years, it's not like it's just stranger danger."

She has a message for any woman who might become a victim, she said everyone has the right to defend themselves, and they should.

"Just be strong, I know it's scary," said Lisa Morelock. "Try to get over your fear and react."

Police say Sotello ran to a house down the street and those residents, ironically relatives of the victims, then held him until police arrived.

Sotello is now charged with aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. His girlfriend told police she cooperated out of fear, she's not charged right now.

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