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Ex-jailer indicted on cell phone charge

July 13th, 2011 12:29 am by Becky Campbell

A Washington County grand jury indicted a former corrections officer accused of letting inmates use a cell phone in exchange for money.
Nicholas Dalton Kent, 30, 1307 Ballard Drive, was indicted Monday on charges of official misconduct and taking contraband into the jail. The charges stem from an investigation that began in March after an officer heard a cell phone ring inside a Washington County Detention Center inmate pod.
Detention Center officers searched the pod and found the phone hidden inside a mattress that had been cut.
Kent was fired two days later and then arrested.
According to a court affidavit filed by WCSO Investigator Jared Taylor, Kent gave a statement that he took the cell phone, a charger and “other contraband” to three inmates who shared a cell, and Kent did it for “financial gain.”
At the time of Kent’s arrest, Chief Operating Officer Leighta Laitinen said cell phones pose a threat to jail safety because inmates can set up drug deals or conduct other illegal activity.
All inmate phone lines are recorded and prosecutors often use that information in a court case.
Other indictments from Monday’s grand jury meeting included:
n Joseph Michael Edwards, 29, no address available, on charges of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault. The charges stem from an April 10 incident inside an Oak Grove Road apartment where Edwards is accused of attacking Amanda Ball.
When Washington County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a domestic call at the apartment, they found Ball lying on the bathroom floor with blood on her had and face.
She told officers Edwards hit her in the head with a hammer and other witnesses said he also choked her.
Ball also reported that Edwards had threatened to kill her during a confrontation in the parking lot of the Electric Cowboy.
Edwards is jailed on $150,000 bond and also has unrelated burglary charges pending.
n Jason S. Hill, 34, 218 Whitetop Circle, Bluff City, on charges of harassment, aggravated burglary and two counts of aggravated assault. Hill was arrested after a May 8 incident at a Gray residence in which he is accused of holding two people at gunpoint and threatening to kill them.
According to court records, Hill had confronted the victims, James Hale and Katrina Peters, earlier in the evening because they were together at a Johnson City bar. Hill was thrown out of the bar and Hale and Peters left a short time later.
When the two arrived at Peters’ residence, she looked for her pistol and noticed it was missing. Peters and Hale were talking when Hill entered the room — with Peters’ pistol in one hand and a pipe in the other — and said he had been waiting on them, according to court documents.
After Hale retrieved a shotgun from his vehicle, Hill fled.
Hill is free on $50,000 bond.

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