DEVELOPING STORY — Lowndes County Commission chair faces charges

Published 1:10 pm Friday, March 19, 2010

HAYNEVILLE — Lowndes County Commission Chair Charlie King Jr. faces criminal charges in a dispute over a vehicle.

King turned himself in to authorities March 12 after Thomas Rudolph, an acquaintance, signed a warrant against the commission chair charging King with harrassment, said sheriff Chip Williams.

Rudolph signed the complaint March 10.

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“When we got the warrant in hand, we contacted Charlie and he came and turned himself in,” the sheriff said.

King was released on bond less than an hour later.

The charge stems from an earlier incident involving a car shared by King and Rudolph.

The warrant alleges Rudolph borrowed a 1997 Toyota Tercel valued at $2,500 and Rudolph occasionally drives the car, according to Williams.

King said Rudolph works for him from time to time. The commission chairman said Rudolph took the car without permission. Rudolph could not be reached for comment.

King went to Rudolph’s church Sunday and asked an usher to have the man step out.

The warrant alleges King struck Rudolph on the shoulders and arms with a large stick.

“He pushed on me, and I pushed him back,” King said. That’s all there was.”

King said he understands when someone files charges, authorities have to do what they are charged to do by law.

“There’s no problem there,” King said of the legal process.

The same day of his arrest King filed a report claiming the Tercel was stolen.

On March 15, authorities arrested Rudolph for first-degree theft of property.

The incident is under investigation, said Williams.