Jailed Rutherford Sheriff Arnold: There’s a ‘hit out for me’

Jailed Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold falsely told his wife on the phone his life is being threatened, according to a Daily News Journal report on documents filed with U.S. District Court by prosecutors.

 “I have a hit out for me now,” Arnold said to his wife, according to the prosecution’s document.

The prosecution contends the sheriff is still manipulating his wife in a court file that’s called an additional response in opposition to Arnold’s Nashville attorney Tom Dundon seeking Arnold’s release. Judge Kevin Sharp will hold a hearing at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in Nashville to consider whether the sheriff should remain locked up while awaiting a jury trial scheduled to start Feb. 7.

Arnold, his uncle John Vanderveer and Joe Russell, a Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office accounting chief, face a 13-count federal indictment of illegally profiting from the inmates the sheriff oversees in Murfreesboro through the sale of JailCigs, an electronic cigarettes business.

Unlike Vanderveer and Russell, the sheriff lost his pretrial release status when U.S. Magistrate Judge Alistair Newbern revoked Arnold’s $250,000 bond. Judge Newbern found probable cause that the sheriff had committed domestic assault, witness tampering and intimidation of his wife involving a Labor Day altercation at the couple’s home in Murfreesboro.

……The prosecution on Wednesday for the second time quoted additional phone conversations from jail between Arnold and his wife after a previous document mentioned them Oct. 21.

The sheriff told his wife that gang members in jail are hoping to “get their tear drop by, you know, shoving a shank deep into my . . . neck.” the document said. “However, Arnold is asked about the hit by a colleague at the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, and Arnold admits to that colleague that, in fact, there is not a hit out on him and that he is just “trying to get Megan, you know, to really try to work to get me the hell out of here.”

The prosecution contends that Arnold’s wife was manipulated into making a recent sworn statement asking for her husband to be released and asserting that she wasn’t harmed.

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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