Former Reporter Arrested in Murder for Hire Plot


Former WJHL (Johnson City, Tennessee) Thomas Kenneth “T.K.” Owens has been busted by police in a murder for hire plot.

Owens was arrested after he met up with the hit man at a sports bar and paid him $500 as down payment to kill his uncle, Ernest "Ernie" Widby. According to the TBI, Owens brought a picture of the intended victim and the victim's home address. That's when law enforcement got involved and arrested Owens after the payment was made.

"If somebody is willing to start spending money, or provide a gun, or extensive details on how to do this. It's pretty serious," said Carter County Sheriff, Chris Mathes. "I'll say in my opinion...Mr. Owens is a disturbed individual."

Mathes said an informant came to the sheriff’s office with information that Owens was looking to pay someone to kill Widby. That led to a meeting in Johnson City where Owens connected with another individual — who was working undercover for the operation — and handed over $500 as a down payment for the $2,500 hit.

This isn't the only legal trouble the former reporter faces. Owens is also facing a Carter County Criminal Court charge of solicitation of a minor. He was arrested May 31, 2011, after a 7-year-old girl’s mother told officials that Owens had invited her into his apartment to get a “twisty tie” ring he made.

The girl told her mother Owens gave her the ring and asked for a hug. After she hugged him, she said he unzipped his pants and exposed himself to her and asked her if she wanted to perform an inappropriate act. The girl told Owens she had to go home to finish her chores. She then ran home. 

The case is still pending, with the latest hearing set for Oct. 3. 

Owens also unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2012.

Between the murder for hire and the solicitation of a minor, seems like he would have made a perfect Senator.