Grand jury returns indictments

A Cocke County Grand Jury meeting this week heard a total of 93 cases and returned a number of indictments, including several presentments which remain sealed.

Wesley Lee Williams, 48, Johnson Street, Newport, was indicted on a second degree murder charge.

On April 22, Williams allegedly fatally stabbed Joseph Ray Jacobs, 41, Fifth Street, Newport, during an altercation in the Williams home.

Investigators said the victim was stabbed in the back as well as his left side, and died a short time after he was taken to the Newport Medical Center by friends. Investigators seized a folding utility knife and a folding straight razor from the Williams home, weapons believed used in the stabbing.

Kenneth J. Phillips, 58, Mountain Cove Way, Cosby, was charged with two counts of rape and one count of incest in connection with an incident reported July 12.

Investigators say the mother of the juvenile female victim walked into her daughter’s bedroom unannounced, finding the defendant partially undressed. The suspect reportedly gave investigators a statement admitting to touching the victim sexually and then participating in sex with the victim.

The juvenile provided a statement saying Phillips removed her clothes, shoved her onto the bed and threatened to kill her if she reported the incident.

Mitchell Ray Presnell II, 31, Greeneville, was charged with aggravated assault, vehicular assault, reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon and possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

The charges stem from a Nov. 30, 2019 head-on collision on South Highway 32. The Tennessee Highway Patrol said Cocke County deputies were pursuing Presnell when he attempted to pass another auto and collided head-on with a 2015 Jeep Wrangler operated by John Martin Jr., 43, of Morristown.

Presnell, who was critically injured, along with a male child in the Martin vehicle, were sent to the UT Medical Center in Knoxville.

David Wayne France, 44, Sevierville, was charged in connection with a December 2019 crash on South Highway 321.

France was southbound when he crossed the center line and struck a northbound 2008 Saturn head-on. The Saturn was operated by Spencer Moore, 36, of Newport.

The defendant now faces charges of DUI, aggravated assault, vehicular assault, driving on a revoked license, possession of marijuana and failure to exercise due care.

Robert Sparks, 26, is indicted in connection with a July incident in which he allegedly argued with his brother, Freddie Troy Sparks Jr., at their home on Palmer Hollow Road in Bybee.

Robert Sparks allegedly fired nine shots at the residence of his brother after a dog owned by Freddie Sparks attacked a dog owned by the defendant. Robert Sparks also allegedly shot the attack dog, two other dogs owned by Freddy Sparks, as well as the brother’s two vehicles.

Robert Sparks was indicted on charges of reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, vandalism, two counts aggravated cruelty to animals and the intentional killing of an animal.