Mayor indicted for vote buying in Hancock County

News release from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
JOHNSON CITY – Special Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have obtained indictments for an elected official and an associate in an ongoing vote buying investigation.

At the request of former 3rd District Attorney General Berkeley Bell, TBI Special Agents began investigating Wayland Dean Rhea and Lowell Ray King on July 30, 2014. During the course of the investigation, Agents developed information that earlier in 2014, Rhea (the elected mayor of Sneedville) and King paid or offered to pay money to a voter to induce support for a candidate in a county-wide election.

Today, the Hancock County Grand Jury returned indictments, charging Rhea, 67, of Sneedville and King, 66, of Sneedville, with two counts each of Voter Bribery. Both men subsequently turned themselves in to authorities at the Hancock County Jail, where each was booked on $20,000 bond.