Ex-reporter, Senate candidate accused in murder-for-hire

Ex-reporter, Senate candidate accused in murder-for-hire (Image 1)

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) – A former Johnson City television reporter who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate last year has been charged in a murder-for-hire plot.

The Johnson City Press reports Thomas Kenneth Owens was arrested on Friday after giving an undercover agent $500 to kill Owens' uncle, a Carter County deputy. Owens was supposed to pay another $2,000 once the uncle was dead.

Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes told the paper that Owens was considering joining the ministry and had some type of spiritual disagreement with his uncle, Ernie Widby. In addition to being a sheriff's deputy, Widby is a minister at Johnson City's Zion Faith Center.

Owens is being held in the Washington County jail on a $100,000 bond.

According to WJHL-TV, Owens was a reporter there from 2001-2004.

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