Man pleads guilty by reason of insanity to rape, arson charges

Brad Hicks • Nov 1, 2013 at 10:47 PM

ERWIN — A Unicoi County man arrested more than five years ago and charged with attempting to assault a woman jogging in the town of Unicoi has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to charges related to this case and others.

Bradley S. Sneed, 27, entered the pleas Thursday in Unicoi County Criminal Court, and judgments were entered that day. Sneed pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the charges of attempted aggravated rape, three counts of assault, aggravated assault and setting fire to personal property.

In June 2008, Sneed was arrested and charged with attempted aggravated rape and aggravated assault for allegedly attacking a woman jogging in the Meadowview Lane area in Unicoi. Officials at the time said Sneed tackled the woman from behind, knocked her into a ditch and pulled her into a field, where he began to choke her and threatened to rape her. Police officials said the woman was able to persuade him not to follow through on the threats.

Sneed was indicted on charges related to the alleged incident in November 2008. In May 2009, Sneed was indicted on two counts of assault for allegedly assaulting two fellow Unicoi County Jail inmates in October 2008.

It is also alleged that in January 2009, Sneed started a fire by lighting books and paper products that belonged to the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department while he was being held in the county jail. Officials said after the fire was extinguished and as they tried to remove Sneed from the cell area, he threw a television at the bars where a sheriff’s department official was standing. Sneed was indicted on the charges of setting fire to personal land or property and aggravated assault in March 2009.

Assistant District Attorney General Ryan Curtis said Sneed’s pleas are best for both the state and the defendant, as the pleas will take the case out of the hands of the local court and into the hands of the Nashville facility where Sneed is now held.

If Sneed has pleaded guilty without the insanity condition, he would have been released due to time served, Curtis said. Curtis said Sneed may still be released in mid-December, but the state is hoping he will be subjected to a treatment plan by the facility where he is now held prior to his release.

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