Friday, November 17, 2006

Harrison sentenced to six months in jail

Judge denies stay of sentence pending appeal


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Former airport security guard Robert Joe Harrison Jr. was sentenced to six months in jail Wednesday for misdemeanor child enticement. Harrison is shown here during his jury trial in September. Photo by Chris Pilaro

Robert Joe Harrison Jr., a former airport security guard, was escorted from a Hailey courtroom in handcuffs Wednesday afternoon after being sentenced to six months in jail for misdemeanor child enticement.

Fifth District Court Judge Robert J. Elgee denied a motion from Harrison's attorney to stay execution of sentence pending an appeal. However, Elgee said if an appeal is filed, Harrison can be released from jail on $5,000 bond.

Elgee also gave Harrison credit for 56 days he served in the Blaine County Jail following his arrest last April.

Harrison was found guilty of child enticement by a Blaine County jury on Sept. 25. The same jury found him not guilty of felony second-degree kidnapping following a three-day trial and three hours of deliberation.

Harrison had been accused of enticing a 10-year-old Hemingway Elementary School student into his vehicle in Ketchum on April 10. According to Ketchum police, the boy was released unharmed a short time later. Harrison was arrested the following day after the boy identified him as the man who gave him a ride.

The boy, his father and his mother were present at Harrison's sentencing hearing, but none of them testified. In fact, neither the defense or prosecution called any witnesses.

Elgee, who imposed the maximum jail sentence for child enticement in Idaho, followed the recommendation of Blaine County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Warren Christiansen.

Kevin Cassidy, Harrison's public defender, argued that the 56 days already served should be sufficient.

"The prosecutor is asking you to assume some sinister intent on the part of Mr. Harrison, but there's no evidence of that," Cassidy said.

He pointed out that there was no touching or threats and that Harrison does not fit the profile of a pedophile.

Cassidy declined to comment Thursday on the sentence, or to say if an appeal would be filed.

"I will be speaking at length with my client about what the next step will be," Cassidy said.

Before his arrest, Harrison was a security guard for the federal Transportation Security Administration at Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey.




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