MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — A Hardeman County, Tennessee man is accused of abusing a woman using an electric dog collar in a bathtub, threatening her life if she did not have sex, and even attacking her inside a courthouse.
Jeffery Hart, 51, is charged with aggravated domestic assault, aggravated kidnapping, trafficking a person for sexual servitude, tampering with or fabricating evidence, and coercion of a witness.
Authorities say he slammed the woman into a concrete wall inside the Hardeman County Criminal Justice Complex and left behind a golf ball-sized knot on her head.
The alleged victim told authorities that it was far from the first time she’d experienced abuse.
She told Hardeman County Sheriff’s deputies that Hart previously put her in a bathtub of water with an electric dog collar and threatened to kill her if she did not drop charges against him.
A man who is Hart’s friend said he’s never known him to be like that.
“I know I have been knowing him for six, seven years and I ain’t never known him to be like that,” the man said. “I live next door to him and me and him ride bikes together all the time and the things he’s being charged for right now, that’s unacceptable.”
Hart will be back in court on August 15.
Investigators said the woman had numerous cuts and bruises on her body. She said Hart hit her with a hammer and flashlight, punched her in the eye, cut her ear and hand with a knife, and threatened her life with a shotgun he keeps beside his bed.
The victim said she was not free to leave her home, and is Hart’s “property,” according to court records.
She said on the way to court, Hart reset her phone and took out the SIM card in an attempt to destroy the photos she took of her injuries.
She told investigators she had to have sex with Hart or he would hurt her.
According to the Hardeman County Sheriff’s Department, Hart has a history of domestic violence and was arrested on August 1 while scheduled to appear in court on a previous domestic assault charge from July 7.
“The victim of the July 7th incident was here at court with him and we received reports that he had assaulted her here in the CJC on one of the breaks,” said Billy Davis, Chief Deputy of Hardeman County Sheriff’s Department. “We believe our victim and the allegations she makes we believe are true.”
The Hardeman County Sheriff’s Office said the case against Hart is in its initial stages.
They said the victim “is currently in a safe location and is hidden from Hart’s violent street gang the Simon City Royals.”