MADISON – Matthew Jennings Harrison was back in Boone County Magistrate Court again last week, but this time regarding a felony grand larceny charge.
The week before last, a group of protesters gathered in front of the Boone County Courthouse 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.”
Harrison, 31, of Madison, appeared before Boone County Magistrate Charles Byrnside on the cruelty to animals charge and 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.
Harrison was represented by defense attorney Robert White during a preliminary hearing on the grand larceny charge, which claims that Harrison allegedly stole over $2,000 worth of tools from the Ball family’s garage.
Ball testified at the trial that she was told by several people, including Harrison’s step-mother, that Harrison was trying to sell items stolen from her garage.
Another witness also testified that Harrison had come to his home to try to sell the stolen items.
Magistrate Sharon Stone found probable cause to have the case bound over to Boone County Circuit Court. It will be considered for indictment by a Boone County grand jury. The next session of the grand jury is in September and after that in January 2015. The prosecution has three terms in which to gain an indictment or the charges will be dismissed.
Harrison’s defense attorney indicated he would be filing for a bond reduction as soon as possible. Harrison is currently being held on a $25,000 surety or $2,500 cash bond.
“We wanted to try to help him,” Ball 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.
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.”
To see video of Harrison being escorted to the hearing see the YouTube video at
(Fred Pace is the Editor for the Coal Valley News. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-369-1165, or on Twitter @fcpace62)