Ex-House Of Israel Member Fox Guilty Of Government Tampering
By KELLY GOOCH
A former House of Israel member is expected to face punishment next month after a jury found him guilty of tampering with government record.
Robert Fox, who was part of the religious group, was found guilty on Thursday and now faces 180 days to two years in prison or up to five years probation for the state jail felony.
During the trial, which was delayed twice because of health issues with Fox, jurors heard testimony from Jacksonville City Secretary Betty Thompson, a former employee of the Smith County Clerk's Office, Jacksonville Police Sgt. Jason Price, Cherokee County Attorney Craig Caldwell and Fox, among others.
Fox represented himself, but attorney
served as stand-by counsel.
Cherokee County District Attorney Elmer Beckworth, who thanked jurors for listening to evidence and rendering the correct verdict, prosecuted the case.
The charges stem from a January 2009 incident in which Fox presented a document to city employees in Jackson-ville in which he demanded $30 million in damages for Fox's pervious arrests and encounters with law enforcement, claiming that the Jacksonville Police Department acted in retaliation and that he was tortured, Beckworth said.
"We alleged some things in the document were false and under the wording of state statute and his actions, it constituted tampering with a government record," he has said.
This week's trial was the second for Fox related to the tampering charge.
Last year, Cherokee County District Judge Dwight Phifer declared a mistrial after jurors wrote more than one note indicating that they were "hopelessly deadlocked" in the case.
Beckworth said at the time the jury heard three full days of evidence, including testimony from two Smith County employees, Jackso-nville Ms. Thompson, several law enforcement officers and witnesses called by Fox.
Fox previously filed a motion to change venue in the case, which was denied.