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Convicted murderer arrested for failing to register as a sex offender in Knox County

Knoxville Police said they arrested Ronald 'Ronnie' Ralph King, 51.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — On Tuesday morning, Knoxville Police arrested a sex offender for failing to register in Knox County. He's also convicted in a New Mexico murder.

KPD said officers took Ronald 'Ronnie' Ralph King, 51, into custody around 10:30 a.m. at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Knoxville without incident.

The department said he was wanted on an outstanding warrant for violations of the sex offender registry — in this case for failing to register as a sex offender in Knox County. 

Court records obtained from Wythe County, Virginia show King was convicted of raping a 12-year-old and a 13-year-old in December 2004. 

While serving time in the Virginia Department of Corrections, King also confessed to the 2001 murder of a New Mexico woman, according to the Albuquerque Journal

In an article published in 2011, the Albuquerque Journal said King wrote '"I killed her. Now do your job and prove it,"' in a letter to police.

Credit: WBIR

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New Mexico court records show King pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2011 for killing 25-year-old Heather Lynn Eiche. The charge for tampering with evidence was dismissed.

Records show King spent roughly a decade serving time in a New Mexico prison before being released on probation in May 2021. It's unclear when he moved to Knox County.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry showed King's status as 'absconder.' That status is typically given to offenders who are not living at an approved residence, failed to report or are otherwise missing.

He is not currently listed on the Virginia or New Mexico sex offender registries.