Weeks after a McDowell County judge suddenly resigned, and days after a newspaper published a scathing article about his online relationship with a Marion woman, court officials released an indictment on Wednesday giving more details into their relationship and charges that have stemmed from it.
Jennifer Morgan Tierce, 36, of Stroud Street, Marion, is charged with one count of felony extortion occurring on May 8. The indictment states the defendant “unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did threaten and communicate a threat to Clarence Randal Pool with the intent wrongfully to obtain $5,000 by threatening to send copies of sexually explicit texts and photographs from conversations between Clarence Randal Pool and defendant to Pool’s daughters, family, and news media if Pool did not pay the defendant $5,000.”
Tierce was served with the indictment on Tuesday and given a written promise to appear in court. Her first court date is Jan. 6, 2020. According to the conditions of her release, Tierce is not to have any contact with Pool or his family, directly or indirectly. An extortion charge is a Class F felony, punishable with a range of 10 to 41 months in prison.
Pool was chief judge for District 29A serving McDowell and Rutherford counties, and held his seat on the bench for nearly 20 years. However, on Nov. 8, Pool retired effective on that day not stating a reason. He has not returned any phone calls for comment.
On Monday, The Daily Courier in Rutherford County published an article with details and photos of texts between Tierce and Pool. She told the newspaper that she and Pool had “consensually engaged in sexting over recent months. Both exchanged sexually explicit language and photographs, including Pool sending Tierce a photo of his genitals.” The article states Tierce and Pool met at Walmart to talk, and she asked him for $100 toward her car insurance, a much smaller amount than listed in the indictment. Apparently this is when the relationship soured, according to the article. She admitted to the newspaper that she “called him out for not helping her after indicating he would…and she threatened to expose his sexting to his family and the media.”
“He got really mad after that,” she told the newspaper. “He told me he was going to call the SBI and have me prosecuted.”
From her testimony with the newspaper, and the pending charges, the SBI did get involved. The McDowell News contacted Tierce on Tuesday to get more information, but was referred to her attorney. Late Tuesday evening, Tierce’s attorney, Andrew LaBreche, sent this message to the reporter: “While I appreciate you reaching out, we will not be providing any public comment at this time. I would also ask that you not contact Ms. Tierce with any additional requests for comment or other information as to this matter.”
A check of Tierce’s criminal background showed several dismissed charges and traffic violations.