Former Unicoi County sheriff Harris’ charges officially dropped

Brad Hicks • Aug 28, 2013 at 4:07 PM

ERWIN — District Attorney General Tony Clark previously said he intended to request dismissal of the charges former Unicoi County sheriff Kent Harris had not yet been prosecuted on. On Monday, dismissal of these charges became official.

A pair of orders was filed in Unicoi County Criminal Court on Monday. The orders, both of which were signed by Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood, who oversaw Harris’ Criminal Court proceedings, order the dismissal of the attempted aggravated assault charge and tampering with evidence charge Harris was indicted on in October 2011, and a single official misconduct charge a grand jury charged Harris with in February 2012.

Harris’ most recent trial, on six counts of official misconduct, ended before it was considered by the jury in the case when Blackwood granted a motion for acquittal from the defense attorney. As a result, those charges were dismissed.

Harris’ first trial, which was on charges of theft over $1,000 and criminal simulation, ended in early August 2012 when the jury in that case failed to reach a unanimous verdict. During the course of that trial, the criminal simulation charge was dismissed.

Harris was retried on the theft charge in December, and that trial also ended with the jury failing to reach a unanimous verdict. The charge was later dismissed with prejudice after a motion to do so was made by the state.

Following Harris’ latest trial, Clark announced he would not pursue future prosecution against Harris and would file a motion requesting dismissal of the charges that had not been dismissed.

Related stories:

Legal problems behind him, Kent Harris says green acres are his place to be

Sheriff Harris indicted on 10 felony charges by Unicoi County grand jury

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