Former Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels found not guilty in evidence-tampering case

Zoey Fields
Former Clay County sheriff Darryl Daniels remained emotionless as the verdict of not guilty was read Thursday.News4Jax Livestream

Former Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels was found not guilty Thursday on all seven charges involving evidence tampering and making false statements to law enforcement. Daniels showed no emotion as the verdict was read.

The verdict was delivered at approximately 6:40 p.m. Thursday after jurors deliberated for roughly two hours and 30 minutes, ultimately deciding the former sheriff was not guilty.

The court heard testimony from two witnesses Thursday before the prosecution and the defense delivered their closing arguments. Daniels was given the option to testify, but declined.

Daniels was on trial for tampering with evidence and lying to law enforcement after his ex-mistress Cierra Smith was arrested for stalking him and trespassing on school property. The state argued Daniels had Smith arrested and deleted text messages, photos and other evidence of his affair from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s investigation against him.

The jury heard various testimony throughout the trial including Smith, the lead investigator from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Clay County Sheriff’s Office employees who worked under Daniels during his time in office.

The former sheriff walks free almost exactly two years after his initial arrest in August 2020.

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Accredited journalist with experience covering a wide range of stories consisting of breaking news, city and county government, crime and courts, feature stories and local interest. Facebook Bulletin writer, reporter; The Learning Curve. Twitter: @zoeyfields0

Jacksonville, FL

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