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Accused Cherokee Forest squatter pleads guilty | News

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Accused Cherokee Forest squatter pleads guilty
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The man accused of making himself a home in the Cherokee National Forest has pleaded guilty.

Terry L. Sharkey was charged with damaging national forest property, cutting protected trees, and using the forest as his home. He pleaded guilty to the six charges against him in federal court on Monday.

He will be sentenced on February 17. He will remain in custody until then.

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A Monroe County man was building himself a log cabin and raising a garden on an isolated and beautiful plot of land in the mountains of East Tennessee.

Unfortunately, the land he chose was in the middle of the Cherokee National Forest, and now, that man faces time in federal prison.

According to court documents, Terry L. Sharkey was caught living on national forest land for the second time in April, just weeks after he'd been sentenced to time served on charges that included camping for more than two weeks in the area without authorization.

A helicopter surveying a forest fire first spotted Sharkey's new homestead, which included a tent, a Rebel flag, and a bath tub made of rock.

In the following weeks, rangers hiked out to the area and saw that Sharkey, who was recognized from his previous case, was cutting trees and building a three-room log cabin. They also saw he had planted a garden and created a bath tub by placing rocks around a spring.

Sharkey was arrested and charged with damaging national forest property, cutting protected trees, and using the forest as his home.


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