MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Berkeley County Sheriff Nathan Harmon pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanor counts related to his actions after his daughter Carrie Harmon’s vehicle accident.
Harmon was charged in an indictment handed up by the Berkeley County grand jury last month. The charges were two counts of obstruction and two counts of providing false information to a state trooper.
The indictment alleges the sheriff obstructed the investigation following the crash and provided false statements to a West Virginia State Trooper who had been tasked with looking into the case as an independent investigator.
On Panhandle Live Tuesday, Sheriff Harmon confirmed he would fight the charges. He said he responded to his daughter’s accident scene as a father first.
“I would not change anything that I did that night as a father. I will continue to be a father,” Harmon told the Panhandle News Network. “I did not give up those rights.”
Morgan County Prosecuting Attorney Dan James was named the special prosecutor in the case.
Sheriff Harmon was arraigned before 23rd Judicial Circuit Court Judge Laura Faircloth Tuesday afternoon. A $10,000 Personal Recognizance bond was set.
Judge Faircloth disclosed that she had recently had a conversation with the sheriff regarding court security staffing that had been witnessed by Chief Judge Steven Redding and others but said it would not impede her ability to be fair.
“This court believes it can proceed in hearing this case,” Judge Faircloth said. Both Prosecutor James and Harmon’s defense attorney Harley Wagner agreed the case could continue in Judge Faircloth’s court.
Faircloth stated she believed jury selection might take the better part of the day because of the sheriff’s notoriety in the county.
The trial is expected to last three days and has been scheduled to begin March 27th. A pretrial hearing is set for March 12th.
Carrie Harmon wrecked her car off Cemetery Road near Martinsburg January 6th 2023.
In the days that followed, there was mounting public pressure for an independent prosecutor to look into the case.
Carrie Harmon was not charged in the vehicle accident. She and two co-defendants were arraigned Tuesday in front of 23rd Judicial Court Chief Judge Steven Redding on assault charges stemming from a July 11th incident at a Berkeley County bar. All three entered not guilty pleas Tuesday.
Harmon has said he is letting law enforcement do their job as his daughter’s case is prosecuted.
He said media outlets tying his name to what his 23-year-old daughter does is inappropriate.
“It gets better ratings, or whatever the case is,” Harmon says, “But tapping my name to something she does this year, next year, or five years from now is not appropriate.”