Thursday, October 7, 2010
Last of 16 defendants enter pleas in voter fraud case
The last of 16 defendants in the Benton County voter fraud case have pled guilty to voter fraud, said Attorney General Jim Hood last week.
Tuesday, Sept. 28, Kenny Ray Bowen and Billy Street each appeared before Judge Andrew Howorth in Benton County Circuit Court and pled guilty to two counts of voter fraud. Judge Howorth sentenced both to five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections with four and a half years suspended, six months to serve on house arrest and four and a half years on post release supervision.
Both must pay $1,000 to the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund.
These pleas bring to a close a three-year-long investigation and 16 defendant indictment. All 16 defendants have either pled guilty or were found guilty of vote buying in Benton County related to elections in 2007.
“The judge and juries have sent a message that vote buying is outdated and will not be tolerated any longer in Benton County,” Hood said.
Sentencing for some of the defendants, including former supervisor Tate King, has been postponed until October 8.
The investigation and prosecution of these cases was handled by the Public Integrity Division of the Attorney General’s Office.
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