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: Search Warrants Become Public In Murder Probe  ( 3331 )
Henry
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« : July 27, 2005, 06:31:11 PM »

Information From The Wednesday, July27, 2005 St. Albans Messenger regarding the Kenny Jerome Murder:

Search warrants become public in murder probe

By LEON THOMPSON & LEE J.KAHRS
Messenger Staff Writers

ST. ALBANS CITY — Court records obtained by the Messenger this morning outline a history of tension and threats between Sheldon murder victim Kenneth Jerome, 33, and a neighboring family, the Harrnesses. The documents also reveal items police seized during search warrants on Harrness property after the shooting.

Last week, a judge ruled that a portion of search warrants executed on Harrness property after the murder be sealed, because they contained information that could compromise the investigation.

Unsealed sections of those warrants, however, shed new light on an alleged feud between the Harrnesses, Jerome, and Jennifer Miller, Jerome's girlfriend and the ex-wife of convicted felon Dennis Harrness. The records describe direct threats Stephen Harrness, Dennis' father, allegedly made toward Jerome.

Although police have ruled Jerome's death a homicide, they have not named any suspects or made any arrests.

According to sections of the warrants now made public, police seized Dennis Harrness' black, 2001 Dodge pick-up truck and requested a forensics examination on the tires to see whether they matched tire prints found 300 to 350 yards from the area where someone fired title gun that killed Jerome.

Police also wanted to search for firearms, ammunition and "any notes, papers, plans that may show a plot to kill Kenny Jerome," Vermont State Police (VSP) Det. Sgt. Ed Meslin wrote in his affidavit.

"This incident appears to be a thought out, calculated act where Jerome was shot from an unknown distance while unloading feed at the rear of the barn," Meslin said.

Police also asked to search for "any other evidence of firearm use by Dennis, Steve, and Tom Harrness (Dennis' brother), including any visible gunshot residue that may be present on clothing," according to court records.

Meslin's affidavit also outlines previously unrevealed instances of alleged trouble between Jerome, Miller and the Harrnesses between 2001 and 2005.

The day after Jerome died, according to court records, VSP Det. Tpr. Rick Desany spoke with Miller and gathered the following allegations:

•At Dennis's April court sentencing, which stemmed from his January arson trial, Miller and Jerome were sitting in the state's attorney's meeting room. Steve Harrness came up to the window, made a gun with his finger, called Jerome "Pretty Boy" and lowered his thumb, as if it were a hammer on a gun.

•Thomas and Steve Harrness "would do the finger gun thing all the time" whenever they passed Miller and Jerome on the highway.

•Steve Harrness has guns to include a 30-30 rifle, a .22 magnum, and a Winchester. Miller told Desany she knew about the guns because she had been to the house and seen the gun cabinet. (State's Attorney Jim Hughes has confirmed that Jerome died of a single gunsnot wound to the chest from a .22-caliber rifle).

•Jerome told Miller in June 2001 that Steve "invited him out for a walk in the woods and told him only he (Steve) would return."

•Miller advised that, also in 2001, Steve Harrness said if anything happened to his grandchilren, he would "take his 30-30 and blow Jerome's head off."

Thomas Harrness pleaded guilty in September to stalking - harassment which stemmed from Miller's testimony in an arson-for-profit case brought against Dennis, according to court papers.

Court documents also allege that Miller and Jerome said Thomas Harrness formed his hand into the shape of a gun and pretended to shoot at them outside Miller's home in March 2004.

In April 2004, Thomas Harrness allegedly told Jennifer Miller "she was going to die for what she had done to Dennis Harrness," according to Meslin's affidavit.\

Thomas and Dennis Harrness also live on East Sheldon Road where the murder occurred on the Terry Magnan farm, Jerome's employer. Miller has told police the Harrness family conspired to collect insurance money by setting fires to their own property, starting in the mid-1990s.

Tension allegedly brewed even this year. On April 19, Stephen Harrness reported that within the last year, Jerome had come onto his and Thomas Harrness' property, "even after being told not to trespass," Meslin wrote. "(Stephen Harrness) made reports of incidents which
Included squealing of tires in the driveway, and leaving messages on the answering machine."

On Nov. 14, 2003, Thomas Harrness called state police and complained that Jerome has cut him off while they were driving on Duffy Hill Road and the East Sheldon Road.

"Jerome made the claim that T. Harrness had stopped by his (Jerome's) boss's farm, honking his horn and giving him the middle finger," Meslin wrote.

In September 2002, Miller complained to police that someone from the Harrness family planted drugs and money in Jerome's car.

"Based on what this officer knows from my investigation into the Harrness' during 2003 and what has been documented through police reports, it is very evident that the Harrness(es) have issues with Jennifer Miller and Kenneth Jerome," Meslin wrote in his affidavit.

"The bitterness began when Jennifer Miller and Dennis Harrness were divorced in April 2003."

Henry Raymond
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