Late sheriff’s daughter pleads guilty to felony


By William Moore

Daily Journal

TUPELO – When Jada Presley Harrington entered a guilty plea on Feb. 11, the court ordered her immediately transferred to a state prison.

But a week later, the daughter of late Lee County sheriff Harold Ray Presley remained in the Lee County-Tupelo Jail. The hold up was because of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

“We were ready to leave that day (transporting her to the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl), but MDOC would not accept her until they ‘loaded’ her (into their computer system),” said Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson. “They have to accept them before we can take them.”

MDOC communications director Grace Simmons Fisher said there is a processing period that can create a delay between someone being sentenced and them being transported to a state prison.

“Procedurally, we have up to 30 days to transport a prisoner to a state facility,” Fisher said. “We did get a request for immediate transport of this prisoner.”

Fisher said Harrington was entered into the MDOC computer system on Feb. 16, five days after the circuit court order. Harrington did not appear on the MDOC website until Feb. 17, listed under her maiden name, Jada Presley. Johnson said his staff did not get word Harrington had been “loaded” until late Wednesday.

Fisher offered no explanation for the delay and would not say, “for security reasons,” when Harrington was scheduled to be transported or to which facility. Johnson was more forthcoming and said Harrington would be transported to Rankin County on Thursday afternoon.

Harrington, 37, admitted she broke into an East Tupelo storage building and was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge James Roberts to serve two years in prison with five years of probation when she gets out. As part of the plea deal, separate charges for burglary of a vehicle were retired to the files.

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