TUPELO – Before sentencing the daughter of a late Lee County sheriff to two years in prison, Circuit Court Judge James Roberts admonished her for recent life choices.
Jada Presley Harrington, 37, the daughter of late sheriff Harold Ray Presley, admitted she broke into an East Tupelo storage building less than a week ago. As part of the plea deal, separate charges for burglary of a vehicle were retired to the files.
“You don’t know me, but your father was one of my favorite people,” Roberts said. “My heart aches that you are in this situation, but you put yourself in this situation.
“I can look in your face and see some of your life journeys, but there is still time to change. It is never too late to change and straighten up.
“If your daddy was here, I think he would want me to say something to you. Get your life straight. Don’t make it where law enforcement hates to see you. You can do better than that.”
Since Harrington was free on bond when she broke into a storage unit at Palmer’s Mini Storage last week, prosecutors were about to revoke her bond. According to Harrington’s court-appointed attorney Kelly Mims, she most likely would have remained in jail several months until the new charges went before the grand jury.
Instead, Harrington agreed to waive her rights to be indicted and pleaded guilty to the Feb. 5 burglary of a commercial building. Roberts sentenced her to serve seven years in prison, with five years suspended. In addition to serving two years in the state prison, she will face five years of probation and have to pay $1,500 in fines plus court costs.
“She feels there is tension between her and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, and we ask that she be transferred as soon as possible to the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections,” Mims said.
Sheriff Jim Johnson had no problem with that stipulation. He worked to make sure she was out of his custody by nightfall Thursday. During a stay at the jail last spring, Harrington disrupted operations and made numerous complaints of mistreatment.
Harrington was arrested after 10 p.m. Feb. 5 along with her husband, Clint “Bull” Harrington, 39, and her mother, Charlene Presley, 66, after Tupelo Police found them inside a storage unit that belonged to Victory Temple Church.
According to District Attorney John Weddle, the commercial burglary charges are still pending against Presley and Clint Harrington. Those charges could be presented to the Lee County Grand Jury next week.
Presley will wait at home for her possible indictment. She was released from jail Monday after posting her portion of a $35,000 bond. Clint Harrington remains in the Lee County Jail after pleading guilty to other charges last week.