Third trial begins for former Unicoi sheriff

ERWIN, Tenn. (AP) -- Former Unicoi County Sheriff Kent Harris is on trial again, this time on charges of official misconduct.

The Johnson City Press reports in opening statements on Monday, District Attorney General Tony Clark told jurors that county inmates were taken to property owned by Harris to bush hog it, mow it, cut wood and raze structures there.

Harris pleaded not guilty. His attorney said in court that Harris did not know the inmates were working on the property.

A grand jury in October 2011 indicted Harris on 10 felony charges, including official misconduct, theft, criminal simulation, attempted aggravated assault and tampering with evidence.

Two trials on the felony theft charge each ended with a hung jury. Prosecutors decided against a third trial on that charge.


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