A former sheriff was back in the courtroom Tuesday. He's on trial for the second time involving theft charges.
It was day one of the trial after jury selection in the case involving former Unicoi County sheriff Kent Harris. We learned much of this trial was similar to the August trial, which ended in a hung jury. This time prosecutors are hoping for a verdict.
After a mistrial in August, a new jury was selected on Monday in hopes of reaching a verdict on two theft charges against former Unicoi County sheriff Kent Harris. He is accused of stealing on the job.
A TBI investigator, who is not allowed to release his name, said they received an investigation request. "There was an allegation of misuse involving county funds," the officer said.
District Attorney Tony Clark told the jury that friends of Harris donated two cars to the sheriff's department.
Tom Colbaugh was one of those donors. "Kent came to us and asked us if we would donate those 2 cars to the Unicoi Sheriff's Department," he said on the stand Tuesday.
A TBI witness says from his investigation he learned that after the cars were donated, money was requested from the county.
The finished product was two checks: one for $1,500, the other for $3,000. The defense claims those cars were not donated, but they were used to raise money intended to train bloodhounds to be search and rescue dogs.
Defense attorney Jim Bowman told jurors the money was kept locked in the sheriff's office safe. He says when the dog became too costly to train and too old to keep, he used the money to pay for a rescue to keep and care for them.
The trial is expected to last up to four days. We'll continue to bring you the facts in this case on-air and online.