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Former deputy, police officer gets 5 years for stalking
0815kenneth cannon
Kenneth Cannon

A former police officer whose acquittal on animal cruelty charges nine years ago drew national media attention was sentenced to five years in prison this week on unrelated charges.

Kenneth Lee Cannon, 40, pleaded guilty in Lumpkin County Superior Court this week to aggravated stalking, impersonating an officer and computer invasion of privacy.

Cannon also admitted to plotting an escape from the Lumpkin County jail.

He was sentenced by Lumpkin County Superior Court Judge David Barrett to 10 years, with five to serve in prison and the remainder on probation. Cannon also was banned from Dawson, Lumpkin, Towns, Union and White counties for the length of his sentence.

Authorities said Cannon was asked to resign as a Dawson County Sheriff’s Office investigator after harassing his then-wife, a fellow sheriff’s employee who had begun divorce proceedings.

Cannon left the sheriff’s office in February. In April, he posed as a Georgia State Trooper when he called the Banks County communications center and asked dispatchers to run his ex-wife’s tag number, prosecutors said.

Cannon was arrested by Hall County Sheriff’s officials April 29 at a traffic stop outside the Murrayville library near Lanier Elementary School. The school was locked down and deputies drew their guns out of concern Cannon may have been armed. He was not.

Cannon was a Gainesville police officer in September 2000 when he was tried in Hall County state court on misdemeanor animal cruelty charges. Cannon admitted to shooting a neighbor’s German shepherd-Husky mix with an assault rifle in the owner’s backyard.

The dog earlier had bitten Cannon’s 9-year-old daughter in the head, an injury that required 18 stitches.

Cannon claimed he shot the dog to protect his family, and a jury sided with him.

The case received national attention from Court TV and Dateline NBC.

Times regional reporter Michele Hester contributed to this report.

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