Anderson Co. man charged after woman claims he took pictures of teenage daughter’s bedroom

Sheriff Russell Barker said they charged the 68-year-old man with stalking after a week of reported incidents.
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 11:39 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2023 at 10:50 PM EST
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CLAXTON, Tenn. (WVLT) - Just one day after Cocke County officials warned of trespassers in the Cosby area, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office pursued stalking charges against a man who the sheriff said repeatedly visited a woman’s home.

Heather Morgan was getting restless sleep as of late after she said an older man has continued to walk up to her home, and even take pictures and videos of her 13-year-old daughter’s bedroom late at night.

“My daughter opened her blinds and saw his ankles, he was two or three feet maximum from the window videotaping into her bedroom,” said Morgan.

The man, now identified as 69-year-old James Handel, has property nearby and doesn’t have a criminal record, according to Sheriff Russell Barker.

Sheriff Russell Barker said they’re planning to charge the 69 year old man with stalking after a week of reported incidents.

As for why and how these interactions began nearly a week ago, Morgan said it was all over an apparent fascination over the free range chickens the family owns.

“He asked my son, do you mind if I murder those chickens,” said Morgan.

While Morgan remained skeptical that’s the motive, she recalls a brief but eerie encounter with Handel when she asked him to leave and called law enforcement.

“He actually screamed it towards me, ‘I will be here today, tomorrow, and every day after that,’” said Morgan.

Barker said that if you’re in a situation similar to this, be in close contact with neighbors and make sure you have a good relationship with them so they can look out for your home. He added that if you feel unsafe, don’t hesitate to call law enforcement.

“I know because I’ve heard this before, ‘oh we don’t want to bother you,’ but it’s best to send us out there. And I’d also ask to be patient because we really want to build a solid case,” said Barker.

Handel turned himself in on Feb. 8, and a judge set his court date for Feb. 21, according to police records obtained by WVLT News.