A longtime sheriff’s deputy who admittedly murdered a woman he was having an affair with after she insulted the size of his penis has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 35 years.
Jason “Moose” William Cunningham, 48, was a married father and Nicole Harrington, 37, was a mother of three who was seeing the defendant and another man. It was Harrington’s remark about this other man that sent Cunningham into a rage: “at least Maui has a large penis.”
A warrant in the case said that Cunningham committed the murder at 836 Reynolds Street in Augusta around 8:30 p.m. in June 17, 2020. The victim was found dead in the Augusta Convention Center’s parking garage around 6 a.m. the next morning; Harrington’s body was left in an elevator overnight.
Cunningham worked as a deputy with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) from 2001 to 2018, according to his LinkedIn. Feeling guilty, the suspect called an investigator at his former office “because he did something really bad last night.” Cunningham claimed that he met Harrington that night in a parking garage to end their affair. Instead, he ended her life.
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He claimed that Harrington “became irate” and got loud during a verbal argument in the garage. After the insult about the “size of his manhood,” as the Augusta District Attorney’s Office put it, Cunningham executed the victim as she entered the elevator.
“This was an extramarital affair in which the defendant was living a double life,” said Augusta District Attorney Jared Williams in a statement. “According to the defendant, he shot the victim for insulting the size of his manhood.”
Harrington, of Hallandale Beach, Florida, was the daughter of a retired sheriff’s deputy. The DA reportedly said she didn’t know Cunningham was married.
An 8-hour standoff between the suspect and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office took place after the RCSO tipped the neighboring law enforcement agency off to Cunningham’s whereabouts. Cunningham has been under arrest ever since, and he’ll be in his 70s by the time he is eligible for parole because he pleaded guilty to the malice murder charge. He also pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Cunningham cried at sentencing and insisted he was “not a monster” as he apologized to the victim’s family, The Augusta Press reported.
The Augusta Chronicle reported that Cunningham resigned from his deputy job after failing a drug test in 2018. The defendant’s LinkedIn said that Cunningham went on to start a “local small business specializing in providing property management and security services.”
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