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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Piney Flats Woman Gets 8 Years Probation for Vehicular Homicide
A Sullivan County woman receives an 8-yr probation sentence after a jury convicted her of vehicular homicide in January. Police said 70-yr-old Patricia Rhea of Piney Flats was driving under the influence of drugs when her vehicle slammed into a car at a stop sign driven by 66-yr-old Fleming Dwight Sluder who was killed in the 2013 crash. Sluder was just one block away from his home when the incident occurred.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Piney Flats Woman Gets 8 Years Probation for Vehicular Homicide
A Sullivan County woman receives an 8-yr probation sentence after a jury convicted her of vehicular homicide in January. Police said 70-yr-old Patricia Rhea of Piney Flats was driving under the influence of drugs when her vehicle slammed into a car at a stop sign driven by 66-yr-old Fleming Dwight Sluder who was killed in the 2013 crash. Sluder was just one block away from his home when the incident occurred.

Man Pleas in Case Involving a Johnson City Drug Deal Turned Deadly
A grand jury chose to not indict 20-year old Coty Bishop for second degree murder back in September, but that didn't get him out of legal trouble. Now Bishop enters a guilty plea to tampering with evidence after that dispute last May which apparently started over drugs and turned deadly. He admitted to police that he shot 22-year-old Casey Jones in the head outside the Johnson Inn on Market Street, but the grand jury believed it was in self defense. As part of his new plea deal, the state agreed to not seek re-indictment on that 2nd degree murder charge. Bishop will spend the next three years on probation.

State Commerce Agency Sets March 30 Public Meeting to Discuss Hawkins Co Memorial Gardens
Dept. of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie McPeak has called for a public meeting in Hawkins County on March 30 to give residents an update on Hawkins County Memorial Gardens. The former owner of the cemetery, Vickie Ringley, was indicted by a grand jury last month on theft, forgery and money laundering charges. McPeak said the meeting is to help an appointed conservator get an accurate record of purchased grave spaces and ownership. Numerous complaints against Ringley led the state to strip her of all rights pertaining to the cemetery.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

State Commerce Agency Sets March 30 Public Meeting to Discuss Hawkins Co Memorial Gardens
Dept. of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie McPeak has called for a public meeting in Hawkins County on March 30 to give residents an update on Hawkins County Memorial Gardens. The former owner of the cemetery, Vickie Ringley, was indicted by a grand jury last month on theft, forgery and money laundering charges. McPeak said the meeting is to help an appointed conservator get an accurate record of purchased grave spaces and ownership. Numerous complaints against Ringley led the state to strip her of all rights pertaining to the cemetery.

Friday, March 06, 2015

TBI Investigation Into Contraband at Carter County Jail Reaps 10 Indictments, Officer Loses Job
A grand jury in Carter County has indicted 10 individuals including a corrections officer on contraband charges. The TBI and Sheriff Dexter Lunceford said the investigation began in September and found department officer Kenneth Turner Jr. was bringing drugs, tobacco and other items into the Carter County jail. Turner has been fired and nine others, including five current inmates, charged.

Judge Finds Former Cumberland Plateau Housing Executive Not Guilty
The former executive director of the Cumberland Plateau Housing Authority based in Russell County has had charges dropped against her in a bench trial. 78-year-old Patricia Dickenson Gray was indicted by a grand jury in 2013 on charges of forging documents related to housing projects and laundering thousands of dollars. Gray was not prosecuted on the laundering charge and Judge Henry Vanover found her not guilty on four charges.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Driver Indicted for Hitting Boy, Grandmother at Unicoi County School Bus Stop
A Unicoi County grand jury charges a woman with two counts of reckless aggravated assault for driving by a stopped school bus and hitting a boy and his grandmother. Kris Waterhouse of Bakersville, North Carolina is set to be arraigned in court on those charges April 6th. In that crash last year, 6 year old Austin Smith suffered a broken leg and head trauma that caused him to be hospitalized several days. His grandmother was also rushed to a hospital after authorities say she saw Waterhouse's vehicle heading toward her grandson and she tried to jump between the boy and car.

Former Cumberland Plateau Deputy Director Enters Alford Plea on 16 Felonies in Russell County
A former deputy director of the Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission entered an alford plea to 16 felonies in Russell County Circuit Court. Louis Ballenbarger received two years on each charge with the judge suspending 1 yr and 11 months on each, leaving him to serve 30 days in jail. The state charged him with money laundering, forgery of public records, and election fraud among the citations in a federal housing scheme that a grand jury said Ballenbarger used to influence construction bids for friends that in turn contributed money to his run for a county school board seat. (KC)

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Driver Indicted for Hitting Boy, Grandmother at Unicoi County School Bus Stop
A Unicoi County grand jury charges a woman with two counts of reckless aggravated assault for driving by a stopped school bus and hitting a boy and his grandmother. Kris Waterhouse of Bakersville, North Carolina is set to be arraigned in court on those charges April 6th. In that crash last year, 6 year old Austin Smith suffered a broken leg and head trauma that caused him to be hospitalized several days. His grandmother was also rushed to a hospital after authorities say she saw Waterhouse's vehicle heading toward her grandson and she tried to jump between the boy and car.

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