Former Hendersonville storeowner pleads guilty to indecent exposure, sentenced to prison

The Henderson County Courthouse.
The Henderson County Courthouse.

A former Hendersonville Main Street store owner will serve time in jail for his 2020 crime of indecent exposure to a minor after pleading guilty to the charge on Feb. 1 in Henderson County Superior Court, according to a news release from District Attorney Andrew Murray.

Hendersonville's Michael Anthony Ford, 58, was the former owner of the Gypsy Heart Store, which sold women's clothing and spiritual products, including incense. On the date of his offense in 2020, Ford was charged with felony indecent exposure of his penis to a then-10-year-old girl. He was also charged with being a habitual offender.

His crime occurred in the Gypsy Heart store while the girl’s mother had briefly stepped outside the front door to take a phone call, according to the Feb. 5 news release. After being continued several times several times, Ford’s case was called for trial on Jan. 30, but Ford failed to appear and could not be located by his defense attorney.

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As a result of Ford "absconding from court," Judge Bill Stetzer issued an order for Ford’s immediate arrest and placed him under a $200,000 bond, the release said. On that same day, Henderson County Sheriff's Office deputies located Ford, who had reportedly overdosed on a substance and had to be taken to the hospital, according to Ford's lawyer, Chris Stepp.

By midnight, Ford was in the Henderson County Detention Center, Murray said in the release.

In the morning session of the Jan. 31 Superior Court, Stepp tried again to get the case continued, saying that Ford wouldn't be able to answer questions to the best of his ability since the overdose incident the night before. Later in the day, Stetzer ruled that the case should go to trial.

On Feb. 1, just prior to Ford’s case being called for trial for the second time, Ford, through his attorney, agreed to plead guilty to both charges pursuant to a negotiated habitual offender sentence of 59 months minimum and 89 months maximum in prison, or just under five years to just under 7.5 years.

Stetzer accepted the plea arrangement and sentenced Ford accordingly.

Dean Hensley is the news editor for the Hendersonville Times-News. Email him with tips, questions and comments at Please help support this kind of local journalism with a subscription to the Hendersonville Times-News.

This article originally appeared on Hendersonville Times-News: Ex-Hendersonville storeowner pleads guilty to indecent exposure