A New Tazewell couple was arrested Friday and charged with first-degree murder in the death of a man they were supposed to be caring for.
Sharon Smith, 43, and Johnny Monday Rhodes, 33, were taken into custody Friday evening after an arrest warrant was issued for each of them.
According to police, the couple is charged with the physical abuse and gross neglect of an impaired adult in addition to the first-degree murder charges.
After Arville Rhodes, 63, died on Nov. 22, 2011, police launched an investigation into his death. He died of neglect, said the report, resulting from dehydration and starvation. He also had blunt trauma to the head, according to New Tazewell Police Det. Wayne Mewhinney. Rhodes was the uncle of Johnny Rhodes.
The couple had power of attorney for and were caretakers of Rhodes, according to Det. Mewhinney.
The investigation took quite some time because the autopsy results did not come back until the end of February 2012, and investigators had to get subpoenas for many of the records as well as conduct interviews with several people, Det. Mewhinney said.
As of press time, both were still being held in the Claiborne County Jail on a $250,000 bond. They are currently scheduled to appear in Claiborne Co. Sessions Court Aug. 6, 2012.