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Lee man charged with perjury after fibbing about cell phone

WALTER LITTRELL • May 15, 2007 at 12:00 PM

JONESVILLE - A Rose Hill man hopefully learned Friday to pay more attention to his appearance when testifying in court.

Dennis E. Campbell, 50, P.O. Box 510, came to court to explain why he had not paid fines and court costs on a previous conviction but wound up in jail on a perjury charge when he was observed wearing a cell phone moments after he told the court he did not have one.

Campbell was one of a parade of defendants Friday in Lee County Circuit Court on "fines and cost day."

After testifying under oath why he was unable to pay, Judge Tammy McElyea began asking Campbell a series of routine questions concerning his finances in an effort to determine which of his bills he could eliminate in order to free up funds for his fines.

During the questioning, the judge asked whether Campbell had a cell phone, and he responded that he did not.

Once the case was concluded, Campbell began to leave the courtroom, but a bailiff noticed he was wearing a cell phone on his side. The bailiff called the man back to the bench and questioned him about its ownership. Campbell at first told McElyea that the telephone belonged to his employer, but when she instructed another bailiff to call the company to verify that information, he then admitted that the telephone belonged to him.

Campbell was arrested on the spot on a charge of perjury and briefly held under a $5,000 secured bond. He was arraigned Monday in Lee County General District Court, and a preliminary hearing on the case was scheduled for June 6.

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