Man arrested three times in week charged with vandalizing new jail

John Thompson • Jul 19, 2012 at 9:47 PM

ELIZABETHTON — A man who had been arrested three times in a week became the first person to be charged with vandalizing the new Carter County Detention Center.

James Norman Scott III, 19, 128 Railroad St., was charged with vandalism over $500 by Deputy Nick Andes of the Carter County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday.

Andes said on Wednesday he noticed Scott, a man he had previously arrested just days before, “pop” the sprinkler head in a cell in the new jail.

“I then observed a flood of water begin pouring out of the cell from the sprinkler,” Andes reported, “and inmates rushing to the cell door begging for the door to be opened.”

When Scott came out of the cell, Andes told the prisoner he had seen him “pop” the sprinkler head. Andes said Scott told him he did not mean to break the sprinkler head, he was just trying to read what was written on it.

The sprinkler episode was just the latest of a series of alleged incidents for which Scott had been charged in the past 11 days.

Shortly before dawn June 7, Andes received a call from dispatch about a man wearing pajama-style pants walking on Sally Cove Creek Road in Hampton who appeared to be intoxicated. Andes went to the location and found a man fitting the description lying in the middle of the road. He was identified as Scott. Andes said he was extremely intoxicated and told Andes he had just recently been released from the Carter County Jail and was holding a “getting out” celebration. He told Andes he had consumed a fifth of liquor by himself. Andes arrested Scott on a charge of public intoxication.

Later that day, Andes received a complaint from Scott’s father, James Norman Scott II, who told him his son had stolen his grandson’s minibike. Andes went to the jail and asked Scott about the minibike. He said Scott at first lied, but when Andes told him there were witnesses, Scott admitted he had taken the bike just to ride around and had hidden the bike to keep it from getting stolen. Andes then charged him with theft under $500.

On July 13, Officer Curtis Bullock of the Elizabethton Police Department responded to a domestic incident at 128 Railroad St. He found that Scott had had been involved in a fistfight with his father. Both men had visible injuries. Scott’s father said the fight had been over his son continuing to consume alcohol under the age of 21 even though he was out of jail on bond. Bullock arrested the son on charges of domestic assault and underage consumption of alcohol.

It was while he was in jail following his third arrests in a week that the vandalism took place.

Capt. Tom Smith, the detention center director, questioned Scott, who reportedly told Smith the same story he told Andes. Following the questioning, Andes told Scott he was being charged yet again, this time with vandalism over $500 for the damage he had caused to the cell and booking area. “Mr. Scott could only hang his head in shame and cry,” Andes reported.

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