January 23, 2013

Man found not guilty of assault, other charges

Rachel Brown
rachelbrown@daltoncitizen.com

— John Henry said he used to have a house and a thriving business selling machine parts to the big names in the carpet industry.

That was before he spent the last two years fighting charges that he pointed a gun at his ex-wife and shot at a man she was with, he said. Henry said he wasn’t even in Dalton when the alleged crimes were supposed to have happened.

“Two years of hell I went through because of these accusations,” Henry said. “I had to basically move back home with mamma for a little while.”

Henry used to live in Whitfield County but now lives in Maryville, Tenn. He was found not guilty by a Whitfield County jury last week of burglary, two counts of aggravated assault (family violence), two counts of terroristic threats and acts, and one count of aggravated assault.

District Attorney Bert Poston said his office pursued the charges because prosecutors believed there was enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

“In this particular case, there were eyewitnesses to the crime including a child witness whom we found to be very credible,” he said. “... The jury ultimately returned a not guilty verdict. We appreciate the jury’s service and accept their decision.”

Henry said he turned himself in after a cousin who works in law enforcement informed him there was a warrant for his arrest. He was charged in October 2011 by the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office with several crimes for allegedly coming to a camper on Foster Road in February 2011 and making threats while wielding a gun. Chattanooga attorney Robin Flores said Henry had an alibi from the beginning.

“He was 130 miles away,” Flores said.

Henry said he’s working to rebuild his business and his reputation, but many of his large purchasers stopped buying from him after his arrest.

“My life has actually been on hold for two years,” he said. “Every two or three months, I had to be in Georgia.”

Henry said he spent about six months in jail, lost his home and paid out roughly $20,000 in court costs, attorney’s fees and bond expenses.