Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Child Molesting Charges for Harrell; They Are Not Related to the Somer Case, in Which He Has Been Mentioned

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Child Molesting Charges for Harrell; They Are Not Related to the Somer Case, in Which He Has Been Mentioned

Article excerpt

Byline: JIM SCHOETTLER

GREEN COVE SPRINGS - Clay County investigators charged Jarred Mitchell Harrell with molesting a young child and 12 related child pornography counts Wednesday, hours after the unemployed laborer was ordered held on $1 million bail in another child-porn case.

Sheriff Rick Beseler has named Harrell, 24, as a person of interest in the Somer Thompson slaying, but the new charges are not related to that case, said Mary Justino, a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman. The Oct. 19 disappearance and death of 7-year-old Somer remains unsolved.

The new charges involve the production of a dozen images of child pornography and the molestation of that child, an arrest report said. The charges are lewd and lascivious molestation of a child younger than 12 years old and 12 counts of producing/promoting a sexual performance by a child.

Details such as the sex and age of the child and the time frame were not available in the redacted arrest warrant, which was served on Harrell in jail Wednesday.

"These charges are the result of the ongoing investigation into Jarred Harrell and his suspected illegal activities," Justino wrote in an e-mail. "These new charges are even more serious than the possession of child-pornography charges he already faces."

Harrell will appear in court on the new charges this morning. The appearance is expected to be the same as Wednesday's, in which Harrell walked handcuffed in front of a closed-circuit TV in the jail after being extradited from Mississippi following his Feb. 11 arrest there.

County Judge Richard Townsend ordered Harrell held on $1 million bail on 29 counts of child pornography and set his arraignment for March 10. Harrell was appointed a public defender.

The 29 counts of child pornography stem from graphic images his former roommates turned over to police in August after they found them on his laptop and computer discs.

Public Defender Matt Shirk said his office's representation has nothing to do with Somer's case and he would not comment on the initial child-porn charges.

"We need to not play the case out in the media," Shirk said.

State Attorney Angela Corey could not be reached for comment.

Beseler named Harrell as a person of interest in the death of Somer when the sheriff announced his arrest in the initial child pornography investigation. Beseler has declined to discuss evidence linking Harrell to Somer. Harrell's father has told The Times-Union that FBI agents sought DNA from him and his son as part of an investigation. The FBI has been assisting Clay investigators in Somer's case.

After two weeks of carrying the person-of-interest label, a determined advocate has surfaced for Harrell: his mother.

Annis Dailey, 51, told her son in a collect phone call he made to her from a jail in Meridian, Miss. …

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