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Newton County Sheriff placed on paid leave pending outcome of criminal case
NEWTON COUNTY - Newton County Commissioners Court has voted to place Sheriff Eddie Shannon on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of his criminal case, according to information provided to KFDM News by County Judge Truman Dougharty.
A grand jury indicted Shannon last week on a charge of making a terroristic threat.
Commissioners held a special meeting Monday and voted unanimously to place him on paid leave. Chief Deputy Cynthia Hall will handle administrative duties. Shannon remains sheriff.
(Friday) TYLER COUNTY/NEWTON COUNTY - (picture is mugshot taken Friday)
The Newton County Sheriff has been released on bond Friday morning after surrendering in Tyler County on a terroristic threat charge following his indictment Thursday in Newton County. Eddie Shannon's bond was $10,000 and he was released from the Tyler County Justice Center in one hour after he was magistrated by Pct. 3 J.P. Milton Powers, according to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford.
Watch KFDM News and stay with kfdm.com for updates on the story and reaction to the indictment.
KFDM News called Shannon Thursday afternoon following the indictment. He wouldn't comment and referred us to his attorney, Blair Bisbey. Bisbey tells KFDM News he's confident the sheriff will be exonerated of a felony charge of terroristic threat handed up Thursday afternoon by a grand jury.
The grand jury indicted Shannon on the Third Degree Felony charge of terroristic threat. If convicted, he could face punishment ranging from probation to between 2 and 10 years in prison.
In June, our media partner KJAS reported that Shannon had attended a Commissioners Court meeting in which he became frustrated with the court. KJAS said a source told them Shannon had gone back to the Sheriff's Office and reportedly threatened to shoot the county judge and commissioners. Shannon's attorney, Blair Bisbey, called the accusations "absurd."
In a statement to KFDM News, Bisbey said, "We are disappointed that the grand jury reached what we consider an erroneous decision. Grand jury proceedings are secret, so we have no way of knowing what influenced that decision, but we do have complete faith in our system of justice and are confident that once we have the opportunity to present all the facts in open court in a public trial, that Sheriff Shannon's innocence will be obvious, and that he will be exonerated from these unfortunate accusations. In the meantime, he will continue to serve the people of Newton County to the best of his ability as their elected sheriff."
The Texas Rangers investigated and Tyler County Assistant District Attorney Lou Ann Cloy was appointed Special Prosecutor.
The attorney for Shannon says Shannon will continue to serve as sheriff to the best of his ability.
KFDM News checked with the Newton County Judge Truman Dougharty. He told us he'll check with the special prosecutor before deciding what action, if any, to take on the sheriff's job status. The county judge did not want to comment on the indictment.
Shannon took office in 2012 after defeating a write-in candidate in the general election and after defeating Joe Walker, who was the incumbent sheriff at the time, in the primary election.
Last year, according to KJAS, Walker pleaded guilty to a Class A Misdemeanor charge of making a false statement to obtain motor vehicle records. He paid a $500 fine and was placed on one year deferred probation, according to KJAS.