Former jail chairman is found not guilty

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

A jury returns a not guilty verdict late Wednesday afternoon for John Harmon, the former Big Sandy Jail Board Chairman accused of using jail funds for personal use.

The jury deliberated for about an hour and a half.

Harmon did not talk to the media but his attorney said they are very pleased with the not guilty verdict.

Before the jury got the case, Harmon took the stand in his own defense.

Former Big Sandy Jail Board Chairman John Harmon got emotional on the stand as he says he has cancer.

Before he was ill, Harmon served nine years on the Jail Board.

“I thought it was my duty to be over there as much as possible and see that everything was going smoothly on both sides, with the inmates and employees, and we ended up doing a lot for that jail,” Harmon said.

Harmon was reimbursed around 43 dollars for each 100 mile round trip from his home in Martin County to the jail in Johnson County, but Prosecutors say he was not allowed to get reimbursed for all those trips.

Rules say he could only get reimbursed for the monthly board meetings but in 2007, he received six thousand dollars.

Prosecutors also alleged he played golf in Paintsville instead of doing jail business while he was there.
Harmon did not deny playing golf on some trips, but said it was not wrong.

Prosecutors also allege he used jail money for personal trips.

The jury found him not guilty of all theft charges.

The other person charged in the case, former jail administrator Henry Butch Williams pleaded guilty to official misconduct charges and abuse of public trust.

He will be sentenced next month.

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