By Bethany Anderson and Tamas Mondovics
The recent arrest of Mountain City Mayor Kevin Parsons along with charges of obstruction of justice has once again stirred the community that is already dealing with its fair share of local leaders finding themselves on the wrong side of the law.
The news about Parsons came in the wake of the arrest of Johnson County Schools Transportation Supervisor Barry Bishop who was arrested on charges of theft of more than $10,000.
While based on the report of the circumstances surrounding Parsons arrest as posted by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office seems to give a reasonable picture of events, Parsons is sticking to his story.
“I maintain my innocence of the charges and look forward to my day in court,” Parsons stated in a text to the Tomahawk. He later expressed his confidence in being “found innocent of the charges.”
As first reported on The Tomahawk’s Website and Facebook page last week’s City Council meeting had a bit of an unusual start with Parsons’ notable absence. The meeting was called to order and then subsequently led by Vice Mayor, Jerry Jordan. There was no explanation given for the Mayor’s absence, and the meeting continued as otherwise planned.
Thanks to social media, it didn’t take long to find out the reason for the Mayor’s absence as before the meeting, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office released a statement and photo on its Facebook page shortly after 8 p.m., explaining the strange turn of events.
According to JCSO at approximately 6:00 pm, on Tuesday, January 8, deputies executed a warrant service on Parsons, for obstruction of justice.
The charges stemmed from a traffic stop on December 22, 2018, when Parsons was pulled over on Hwy 67 West, for speeding.
According to the official JCSO report, upon approaching the car, the officer recognized and identified the driver as Mayor Parsons and advised him why he had stopped him.
The report states, “the officer then asked Mr. Parsons who the passenger was with him. He stated it was a friend. The officer having prior knowledge that Mr. Parsons brother-in-law had active warrants out of Johnson County and had been seen in that same vehicle asked Mr. Parsons what his friend’s name was. When Mr. Parsons refused to answer the officer, he then asked the passenger directly if he had an ID on him and he said no. He then asked the passenger twice for his name, and he would not respond either time.”
The report continued, “Sheriff Tester arrived on scene and asked Mr. Parsons if the passenger was his brother-in-law. Mr. Parsons responded saying, “I don’t know, I’m not at liberty to say that.” The Sheriff advised Mr. Parsons that his brother-in-law has active warrants on him and if that were him, then they would need to know. Mr. Parsons was then advised if it was him and he didn’t say, he could be charged. Again, Mr. Parsons said, “I don’t know. Mr. Parsons was asked one last time if he didn’t know the passenger could be his brother-in-law in which he finally said, “it’s my brother-in-law, yes.” The passenger exited the vehicle, and his identification was confirmed as well as the active warrants of failure to pay child support that was outstanding on Mr. Parsons’ brother-in-law, Kenneth B. Cornett. Mr. Cornett was taken into custody at the scene, and Mr. Parsons is being charged with obstruction of justice.”
Deputies said that Parsons’ bond was set at $2,500.00. His court date will be on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.