Arrest of local felon causes media stir

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Jason Autry

On Thursday, Dec. 3, Jason Autry was arrested by the Benton County Sheriff’s office on charges of public intoxication, possession of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of a firearm, and evading arrest. The arrest of the notorious felon caused a big stir in Tennessee media.

Autry previously was released from jail in September after pleading guilty to lesser charges in the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Holly Bobo. For those crimes, he was sentenced to eight years for each charge, with sentences to run concurrently. Autry took a plea deal on these charges in exchange his testimony in the conviction of ringleader Zach Adams.

Because Autry had been in jail for more than five years awaiting trial, he had earned enough jail credits to be released after his sentencing. Although Bobo’s family agreed to the terms of the plea deal, many in Benton and Decatur counties were not happy with what felt like an early release for Autry.

After learning of Autry’s arrest, media outlets from all over Tennessee began calling BCSO to learn more about what brought Autry back into custody. Since his release in September, the felon’s activities have been watched carefully by many in the community, as well as law enforcement.

Around 8 a.m. on Dec. 3, Autry was observed wearing pajama pants lying in a field in the Holladay community. The arresting officer stated that although Autry’s statement did not make sense, he had no holds or warrants, and was free to go. As Autry walked away, the officer noticed a rifle on the field where Autry had been lying down.

When confronted, Autry at first attempted to get away, but ultimately admitted that the rifle had been in his possession. As a convicted felon, Autry is prohibited from owning a weapon. When searched, Autry was found to have methamphetamine in his possession. He will now face both state and federal charges, and if convicted, he faces up to 20 years behind bars.

“I want to thank the excellent and dedicated members of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office for putting in a long day last Thursday on a very important case. Sheriff Christopher has built a great team, and it is an honor working beside them,” said District Attorney Matt Stowe. “Now it is the job of my office to get to the truth, to be sure that the defendant’s rights are respected and upheld, and to seek justice for this community.”



On Dec. 6, K9 officer Chris Hatley stopped driver Kale Lowe in a routine traffic stop on Hwy. 69S. While talking with him, Hatley observed that Lowe seemed confused, and noted that Lowe began to make conflicting statements. Further investigation led to a search of Lowe’s person and vehicle. Hatley found four separate bags containing what was later identified as methamphetamine and heroin.

Lowe was charged with possession of schedules I and II with intent, possession of unlawful drug paraphernalia, evading arrest, driving on revoked/suspended license, driving while in possession of methamphetamine, and violation of financial responsibility, registration, and license plate display laws, and booked into the Benton County Jail on a $25,000 bond. 

Brian Swearingen charges: burglary,theft over 1000, introduction of schedule III, introduction of schedule VI.

Elizabeth Sparks charges: burglary, theft and vandalism. They broke into the Methodist church in Camden. Less then 24 hours later BCSO and the PD worked awesome together to recover items from the church.   I don’t have as much details because the city technically worked it. 

As I write this post I have tears in my eyes, we would like to thank our community for coming together this year and making donations to our Shop With A Cop event. Thanks to our citizens and several businesses we have totaled out today at 10,030.00 which is doubled from our total last year!!!! On Saturday December 12th we will have some very happy kids that our community has made sure will have Christmas this year and don’t be alarmed if you see several blue lights and cop cars Saturday, as we will be escorting our children to Walmart around 7pm.God bless and Merry Christmas- Connie Wright