According to case documents obtained from the Sharp County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Mark Counts received a call from Donnie Samons after the custody hearing, advising his home in Williford had been broken into while he was in court with his wife, Lisa Lewellen. Items taken included guns, jewelry and coins and destruction of personal property.

Samons told Counts he believed Claude, his son in law, had committed the burglary because of the ongoing child custody hearing. The victim also told the sheriff he felt Claud had broken into his home because he arrived late for court. Samons added that he had also received a call from Claude’s sister regarding the location of her vehicle, which Claude had borrowed to go to court.

The vehicle was still in the court house parking lot and, Sharp County Detectives Dale Weaver and Ken Guidry went to the locked vehicle, they were met by the victims who visually identified several of the stolen items in the vehicle.

The sheriff’s department impounded the car until a search warrant could be obtained. On Nov. 11, the car was searched and several items were recovered from the break in, including a prescription with Samons’ name on it, binoculars, jewelry and keys to a Polaris Gator ATV. Detectives also discovered property stolen recently from the Dalton Volunteer Fire Department. Randolph County Lt. Mike King responded and positively identified the items taken. On Nov. 14, Hillary Claude, Doug’s sister, turned in plastic totes to the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department, after her brother told her where he had placed them in Williford near the railroad tracks. Lt. King returned the totes to Sharp County, where they were later identified by the victims. Several of the guns are still missing. Claude also allegedly cut the tires on Samons Polaris Gator and destroyed his chain saw. He was charged with residential burglary, a Class B felony and theft of property, a Class D felony. He also faces charges in Randolph County. Claude is currently incarcerated in the Sharp County jail.

In October, the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office arrested Claude and charged him with Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Disorderly Conduct, No Child Restraint and the Introduction of Prohibited Items into the Jail.

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