ATHENS, Tenn. — A former McMinn County jailer has been indicted on a charge of sexual contact with a female inmate.
Justin Swafford was fired from his job as a corrections officer last month after an internal investigation substantiated allegations of the inappropriate contact, according to a news release from Mc-Minn County Sheriff Joe Guy.
"We saw what appeared to be a pattern of policy violations, as well as criminal conduct on the part of Mr. Swafford," Guy states in the release.
"It is always disappointing to find misconduct and bad decisions in a staff member, but our department has high standards of conduct that we live and work by. We cannot tolerate violations of those standards."
Guy specified that the contact, which allegedly occurred earlier this year, did not involve sexual intercourse.
Swafford, who was hired as a jailer in December 2010, was indicted by a grand jury on the charge of sexual contact with an inmate, a Class E felony.
Swafford turned himself in to the McMinn County Justice Center on Thursday and was later released on a $2,500 bond. He is set for arraignment in Mc-Minn County Criminal Court on June 4.
Death of man found in Knox ruled suicide
Authorities have deemed the death of a man whose body was found in Northeast Knox County to be a suicide.
Residents of Roberts Road reported about 5 p.m. Wednesday finding the body of Wiley Chester Carpenter, 59, in woods just off a common driveway used by homes in the 3700 block of Roberts Road, according to a report filed by the Knox County Sheriff's Office.
Residents reported blood on the man's chest.
Investigators found a handgun near his body and determined there was no foul play involved. Carpenter had shot himself in the chest.
A resident told officers she had seen Carpenter when she passed his parked van about noon Wednesday along Roberts Road. The witness said she waved at Carpenter and he waved back.
The KCSO report states Carpenter was self-employed and lived on Mascot Road.
Alleged purse snatchers nabbed
Two men are charged in connection with a parking lot purse snatching Thursday morning that escalated into a pursuit through North Knox County involving a K-9 dog and helicopter.
Willie Melvin Hefner, 32, and David Glenn Kitzmiller, 36, both of Knoxville, were charged with robbery following the incident, reported about 9:30 a.m., according to the Knox County Sheriff's Office.
Hefner allegedly grabbed the purse of a 38-year-old woman as she sat in her vehicle with the door open in the parking lot of a drugstore at 604 E. Emory Road in Powell.
The victim suffered minor cuts and scrapes as she was pulled to the ground. Hefner fled on foot and was picked up by Kitzmiller, his alleged getaway driver. A Sheriff's Office deputy soon stopped the pair along Emory Road. Kitzmiller surrendered and was taken into custody, while Hefner ran, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.
A K-9 officer, with help from a KCSO helicopter, tracked the suspect to nearby Conner Road, where he was arrested.
Hefner now faces charges including robbery, evading arrest and leaving the scene of an accident. He is being held in lieu of $41,250 total bonds.
Kitzmiller also is charged with robbery and failure to obey court orders. He is being held without bond for violation of probation on a previous theft conviction.
Hefner has a criminal history that includes drug, theft and burglary charges. Kitzmiller has prior charges of theft and driving without a license, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Lack of spring rains has reservoirs low
The Tennessee Valley Authority says a lack of rainfall has hydroelectric generation running 12 percent below normal.
Hydro is TVA's cheapest source of electricity, but accounts for only about 8 percent of the power the federal utility produces.
The lower water level in the reservoirs might have more effect on recreation, including boating and fishing.
T he upper Tennessee River Valley, above Chattanooga, has received 93 percent of normal rainfall, but the lower valley has gotten only 53 percent of usual rain since the first of April.
The U.S. Drought Monitor states that the areas in the state around Shelbyville, Winchester and Tullahoma are the driest on local record.
John McCormick, TVA senior vice president of river operations, said it is unlikely the reservoirs will rise to usual summer levels.