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Charges against ex-deputy returned to Sessions Court for preliminary hearing

Charges against a former Carter County Sheriff’s Department officer were remanded to Sessions Court for procedural reasons after an appearance Monday in Criminal Court.
Matthew Ainsworth, 26, of Elizabethton, appeared in Criminal Court before Judge Stacy Street on Monday on three counts of aggravated assault.
Two of those counts of aggravated assault were remanded to General Sessions Court, while the third was set for trial.
The two remanded charges stem from an October 2013 incident that led to Ainsworth, who was employed as a deputy with the Carter County Sheriff’s Department at the time, being charged with assaulting his girlfriend and a male neighbor who had attempted to render aid to the woman.
Arrest warrants obtained at the time of the incident charged Ainsworth with one count of assault and one count of assault under domestic violence. Ainsworth was arrested on Oct. 6, 2013, but was released on bond the next day.
Before he made his initial appearance in General Sessions Court on the charges, which was scheduled for Dec. 27, 2013, investigators with the Carter County Sheriff’s Department proceeded by presenting the case to a Carter County grand jury with upgraded charges — two counts of aggravated assault. The original charges against Ainsworth were misdemeanors. The charges presented to the grand jury are Class C felonies.
In Criminal Court on Monday, the two counts of aggravated assault from the October 2013 incident were sent back to General Sessions Court for a preliminary hearing.
The district attorney general’s office confirmed on Tuesday that this was a procedural issue due to the charges against Ainsworth being upgraded.
Ainsworth is scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court for a preliminary hearing on two counts of aggravated assault on July 29 at 1:30 p.m.
A tentative trial date of July 31 was set for Ainsworth on the third count of aggravated assault, which dates from July 2013.