MADISON – A group of protesters gathered in front of the Boone County Courthouse in Madison on Tuesday, July 1, armed with posters and pictures of a Madison man and the dog they allege he beat to death.
“I know he killed my dog,” said Julia Ball of Robinson. “He has threatened and harassed me and my family over and over again.”
When Matthew Jennings Harrison, 31, of Madison, appeared before Boone County Magistrate Charles Byrnside he got some good news and some bad news.
The good news for Harrison was that the felony animal cruelty charges were dropped, but the bad news is that the charges could be re-filed in the future and he was also arraigned on a separate felony charge of grand larceny.
Boone County Assistant Prosecutor Troy Adams said presently there was not enough evidence to support the charge, although the “without prejudice” ruling would allow him to re-file it. He said the investigation into the dog’s death was ongoing and he was waiting on toxicology reports.
The new grand larceny charge claims that Harrison allegedly stole over $3,000 worth of tools from the Ball family’s garage.
Ball said everything started when Harrison moved into her neighborhood.
“We wanted to try to help him,” she said. “We paid him to cut our grass, tried to help him with his rent and gave him food, but then he stole my husband’s tools and also sent some inappropriate message on Facebook to my 12-year-old son.”
Ball said that after she confronted Harrison he began making threats of revenge by saying he was “restoring back to his old ways,” according to the criminal complaint.
Prior to the hearing, Harrison told a Coal Valley News reporter that he did not kill the dog and was willing to take a polygraph test. He made no comments about the grand larceny charge or other allegations made by Ball.
Harrison’s bond on the grand larceny charge was set at $25,000 surety or $2,500 cash and he is back in jail again awaiting another hearing. No date for that preliminary hearing has been set, according to court officials.
Ball also alleges that Harrison sent inappropriate messages to her 12-year-old son that said, “come over to my house alone…we can be with each other with no distractions.”
The Boone County Sheriff’s Department is handling that investigation. Officers seized computers from both Harrison and the Ball family and that investigation is ongoing.
Boone County Chief Deputy Chad Barker told reporters that “if anything inappropriate is found, we will take action immediately. We take these crimes very seriously.”
Harrison has an extensive criminal background with multiple charges in the past, according to Boone County Courthouse records.
“We just want justice,” Ball said. “He needs to be behind bars and kept in jail because when he is out I can’t sleep and I, my family and the entire community lives in fear.”