DA, former sheriff say they were the victims of threats, violenc - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

DA, former sheriff say they were the victims of threats, violence and vandalism

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Three months after prosecutors dismissed the case against former Unicoi County Sheriff Kent Harris, we're learning the allegations presented in court weren't the only ones on the district attorney's mind.

Tony Clark says the throughout the investigation he was the victim of death threats, vandalism and violence.

"There were threats made to me personally about causing bodily injury or death to myself, asking my family to leave Unicoi County, that they needed to get out or be thrown out," Clark said. "To say that sometimes I wasn't in some type of fear, yes, but I take that with a grain of salt."

Now that the previous case against Harris is closed, we asked to look at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's case file. However, the TBI said that file cannot be released without a court order or subpoena.

Although we couldn't look at the file, it was previously rumored that people targeted Clark throughout the Harris investigation and trials.

Clark dismissed the case against Harris after two of the former sheriff's trials ended with hung juries and a third ended when the judge dismissed the charges against him.

Now that the case is closed, we asked Clark if he would confirm that he was in fact the victim of violence. Clark says from the beginning of the case to the end, death threats, some by email and text, others by phone in the middle of the night, were all too common. He says he was especially concerned about his family's safety.

"The amount that I had on that case was more than I had had on any other case in 20 years as a prosecutor," Clark said.

The danger didn't just stop with the threats. Clark says twice someone used a gun to get their point across.

"There were instances at a home in Unicoi where there were actually shots fired at the home," Clark said. "I reported that to the TBI. Also (there was) a window shot out in a car."

In addition to notifying the TBI about the shots involving the home, Clark says he filed a report about the car with the Unicoi County Sheriff's Department.

So who is to blame? Clark says he doesn't think the former sheriff is responsible.

"I did receive a lot of flack, but I'm not laying blame on him or his family or anyone else," Clark said. "I can't say that that came directly from anybody that Kent Harris knew or was working on his behalf. I don't know. I'm not blaming it on them. I'm blaming it on the situation itself."

Interestingly enough, the district attorney wasn't the only one who says he was a victim. Harris says he was the target of violence too.

"There was one particular man who would drive by our house real slow and he was someone who had told an officer that he was going to kill me," Harris said. "One time I was out in the driveway and he took his finger...and pointed it at me."

Harris reported three incidents of vandalism to the Erwin Police Department, including one for a bullet hole in a family business and others for damage to cars.

"We had a window shot out of one of the vehicles and one vehicle was probably vandalized with a screwdriver or knife and the vehicle had some vulgar words on it," Harris said. "Other things happened like nails in our driveways, flat tires, not just at my house but at my grandmother's house and my mother's house."

So who was behind all of this? Harris has his guess.

"Being a longtime investigator, whoever was doing the damage to Tony was probably doing the damage to us, to either draw more divide or more hatred and cause trouble," Harris said.

Although some of the crimes were reported, we're told investigators were never able to track down who was responsible.

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