ERWIN — Former Unicoi County sheriff Kent Harris is set to once again face trial today at 9 a.m. in Unicoi County Criminal Court on a theft-related charge, one of the 10 felonies a grand jury indicted him on in October 2011.
This marks the second time this year Harris has been tried on the charge of theft over $1,000. A mistrial was declared in the first trial after a jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
In that trial, which began in late July and ended Aug. 2, Harris was tried on charges of theft over $1,000 and criminal simulation. It is alleged Harris sought and received $4,500 in county funds to pay for two vehicles that were actually donated to the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department in September 2008.
While District Attorney General Tony Clark said in his opening statement that the prosecution intended to prove the vehicles were donated to the county but Harris still ended up in possession of the $4,500, Harris’ legal defense stated that it would show the $4,500 was a portion of the funding that was to go to the care of two bloodhounds previously purchased by county resident Tom Colbaugh to serve as search and rescue dogs for the UCSD.
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