Berkeley County sheriff says he’s “hands off” on investigation involving his daughter’s assault charge

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Berkeley County Sheriff Nathan Harmon says he’s letting investigators do their job.

Nathan Harmon

Harmon’s daughter Carrie was one of three women charged after a July 11th incident at a Berkeley County bar during which a woman was injured.

The Journal reported at the time that Carrie Harmon and the other two women, Icyes Berry and Autumn Ford, faced charges of malicious or unlawful assault and conspiracy after the incident.

Malena Rutherford said she was assaulted by the women at the Bad Habits Bar & Grill. She told the police the following day that she wanted to pursue criminal charges as she said the incident was not a tussle or mutual fight, but a “beat down.”

Sheriff Harmon said his daughter is an adult.  “She will suffer adult consequences and pay adult prices,” Harmon said during an appearance on Panhandle Live Thursday on MetroNews affiliate The Panhandle News Network.

Carrie Harmon (WVRJA)

Harmon said expectations that a public figure’s family would be perfect are unrealistic.  “As a father, I’m rather disappointed in the choices made.  Our family is a God-fearing family.”

“There is no such thing as a perfect family,” even the family of someone in his position, he said.

The sheriff said he is letting officers do their job as Carrie Harmon’s assault charge is being investigated.  “I’m completely hands off; I’ve been hands off.  The deputies did a wonderful job,” Harmon said.  “I’ve just been kept apprised of the updates and the progress.  That’s it.”

Harmon said his daughter, who was initially held in the Eastern Regional Jail, is now being monitored under home confinement.

Sheriff Harmon came under fire earlier in the year after the same daughter was involved in a traffic accident in the early hours of January 6th.  He has denied allegations from the public that he tried to influence that investigation.  Carrie Harmon was not charged in that single vehicle crash, but the intense public scrutiny triggered an independent investigation that is being carried out by the Morgan County prosecutor’s office.  That investigation is reportedly still ongoing.

According to the Journal, deputies from the sheriff’s office later reviewed video footage from the owner of Bad Habits Bar & Grill, where they were able to see the events of the night.

The video reportedly starts with the three women sitting with Rutherford at a bar, having casual conversation. Eventually, Rutherford starts to leave the bar with another woman, and Berry approaches the pair and an argument ensues, eventually starting a physical fight that Rutherford tried to break up.

While the argument was going on, Harmon, according to the report, picked up an empty beer bottle and put it in her pocket before removing it and holding it to her side with her right hand.

After Rutherford tried to break up the fight between Berry and the other woman, Ford grabbed Rutherford by her hair from behind before striking her in the head several times and pulling her to the ground. Then, Harmon struck Rutherford in the face several times while she was on the ground.

After Ford and Harmon hit Rutherford in the face a few times, they dragged her away from the bar and slammed her head against the floor. Once the fight between Berry and the other woman had been broken up by the bartender, Berry joined the other two women, yelling an expletive to encourage the beating, the report said.

Ford and Harmon continued to beat Rutherford as she moved into the fetal position. Rutherford tried to get up but fell, and Harmon got on top of her, striking her before a patron at the bar pulled Harmon off, the report said. However, as he pulled her up, Harmon stomped Rutherford with her left leg.

Once Harmon had been pulled away from Rutherford, she threw a bar chair and Rutherford’s purse at the bar’s photo booth. As the chaos from the fight was ending, Harmon picked up a white cue ball from the pool table, but a man stopped her from using it, the report stated.

During the incident, Rutherford sustained several lacerations, a black eye, several bruises and a concussion.

On July 24th, Harmon turned herself into deputies and was arraigned. In West Virginia, malicious or unlawful assault and conspiracy are punishable by 2-10 years in prison.

Sheriff Harmon released a statement following her arrest that read in part, “My daughter made her own choices and also chose a circle of friends that do not make good choices either,”

His Facebook post continued, “She is an adult, and her actions will be subject to adult rules, and she will pay adult consequences.”

“I want to ensure the public that when it comes to committing criminal offenses, it doesn’t matter who you are, my deputies will do their jobs without worrying of influences, without interference and without politics, “Sheriff Harmon said. “I am very proud of the thorough work they did as I was informed today that a warrant was issued for her arrest, and she subsequently turned herself into the deputies this evening without incident.”





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