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Sullivan County TV evangelist enters Alford plea in abuse case

April 16th, 2012 8:28 pm by Kacie Breeding

Sullivan County TV evangelist enters Alford plea in abuse case

A Sullivan County TV preacher has pleaded guilty to charges she abused and neglected her 92-year-old mother and 59-year-old disabled husband, who both required immediate medical care when they were removed from her home in February of 2011.

Brenda Viars, 59, 4260 Highway 126, Blountville, entered an Alford or best-interest plea of guilty to two counts of willful abuse, neglect or exploitation of an adult, a Class E felony, Monday morning in Sullivan County Criminal Court. The state dismissed two additional counts of physical abuse or gross negligence of an impaired adult, a Class C felony.

Viars' convictions each carry a potential one to two year prison sentence and up to $3,000 in fines. She is seeking judicial diversion, which would allow her to apply to have her convictions expunged following a period of supervision. Viars entered what's known as a blind plea, which means there was no agreement with the state regarding her sentence. The judge is expected to decide her punishment at a July 5 sentencing hearing.

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