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Councilwoman accused of hampering prowler investigation

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Hopkinsville Councilwoman Ann Cherry Hopkinsville Councilwoman Ann Cherry
HOPKINSVILLE, KY (WSMV) -

Efforts to catch a neighborhood prowler have landed a city councilwoman in trouble. Prosecutors say she tried to get witnesses to change their stories and went so far over the line it now has her facing charges.

Hopkinsville police called the so-called Southside Prowler downright dangerous and they wanted to get him off the streets, saying he would wander down the street at night, peek through windows and expose himself. In some cases, he actually got inside the homes.

Police grew so concerned they issued a red alert and robo calls were made to every house in the neighborhood.

"Worst case scenario: sexual assault, physical assault, killing. Anything could happen in that situation, so obviously we wanted it to stop. The sooner, the better," said Hopkinsville police Ofc. Paul Ray.

Investigators eventually caught a suspect in the case, career criminal Michael McClendon. But Hopkinsville Councilwoman Ann Cherry is also facing criminal charges in connection with the case.

"It's not the role of a city council person to conduct their own investigations or to interfere with investigations being conducted by police," said prosecuting attorney Lynn Pryor.

Pryor says Cherry convinced a witness to change the suspect description and also tried to get police to change their description in their robo warning call.

"The person that was charged and convicted of all of these crimes was a white male, and that's not what she had in her mind that he was. She was trying to convince the emergency operations center that it was a black male," Pryor said.

Cherry says her attorney told her not to comment, but she did go on record, saying, "I'm always trying to help my constituents if I can, but I certainly don't break any laws doing that. I'm innocent."

"I don't doubt that she does try to help her constituents, but I just believe that in this particular instance she crossed the line," Pryor said.

Channel 4 News attempted to contact Cherry's attorney for this story but he did not return our phone calls.

The case is due to go to trial Nov. 18.

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