Tag Archives: Owens

U.S. Senate Candidate Indicted for Soliciting 7-year-old Girl

A Johnson City man who is running for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Bob Corker is also facing a felony charge in one of those counties, according to the Johnson City Press.
Thomas Kenneth Owens, 36, was indicted by a Carter County grand jury on May 14 on a charge of solicitation of a minor. Owens was arraigned in Criminal Court on May 31.
When asked about his employment and financial status, Owens informed the court that he was a candidate for the U.S. Senate. He then filed an affidavit of indigency and Judge Robert Cupp appointed a public defender for Owens.
Cupp also ordered a mental evaluation. When he was contacted Monday afternoon about the criminal charge against him and what impact it would have on his candidacy, Owens said “Those charges are false charges and there should not be any publication.”
The telephone call was then disconnected. The charge stems from an investigation by the Carter County Sheriff’s Department into allegations that a 7-year-old girl was riding her bicycle in front of the apartment where Owens lived on May 21, 2011.
The girl told her mother and later Lt. Randy Bowers that Owens came out of his apartment and asked the girl if she wanted a “twisty tie” ring that he had made. When she entered Owens’ apartment, she said he gave her the ring and asked her for a hug. After she hugged him, he allegedly unzipped his pants and exposed himself, asking her to perform an inappropriate act.
The girl told Owens she had to go home and finish her chores. She then ran home
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Gaile Owens, Once Facing Death Penalty, Freed from Prison

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A woman who spent 26 years on death row and came within two months of being executed was freed Friday from a Tennessee prison.
Gaile Owens, 58, of Memphis was released Friday and greeted by a small group of supporters outside Tennessee’s Prison for Women.
She was sentenced to die for hiring a stranger to kill her husband in 1985, but her death sentence was commuted to life in prison last year and she won parole last week.
Supporters had urged her release, claiming she was a battered wife who didn’t use that defense because she didn’t want her young sons to know about the physical and sexual abuse.
The first thing she did on leaving the prison was to hug one of those sons, Stephen Owens, who is now grown and has children of his own.
Owens issued a written statement and then immediately left the prison.
“I’m looking forward to leading a quiet, private but productive life,” the statement said. She said she wanted to get to know her son and the grandchildren born while she was in prison.
Her son said he was looking forward to spending the rest of the day with his mother.
Owens’ sentence was commuted to life in prison in July 2010 by former Gov. Phil Bredesen. He acknowledged the abuse claims of her supporters but gave a different reason for his decision to spare her life. Bredesen said prosecutors had agreed not to seek the death penalty if Owens pleaded guilty but then put her on trial when her co-defendant wouldn’t accept the plea bargain.
At the time she was imprisoned, a life sentence meant serving 30 years and she was eligible to be released now because of good conduct.

Gaile Owens, Former Death Row Inmate, Being Released

By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee will free a woman who once sat on the state’s death row for hiring a man to kill her husband.
The state Board of Probation and Parole voted Wednesday to release 58-year-old Gaile Owens, whose death sentence was commuted last year by then Gov. Phil Bredesen.
Owens was convicted in 1986 of hiring a man to kill her husband, Ron. He was beaten to death with a tire iron at their suburban Memphis home.
She initially told police that she had a bad marriage but that there was little physical violence. Shortly thereafter, she told attorneys a different story: claiming her husband had repeatedly raped and denigrated her, cheated on her and threatened to take their two children when she asked for a divorce.
Bredesen said he commuted the sentence because Owens once had a plea deal to avoid the death penalty that fell through when her co-defendant refused to plead guilty.

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