Fired Columbia County deputy free on bond

A Columbia County sheriff's deputy was fired today after being arrested and charged with stalking.

Motorcycle deputy Gregory Key Kernaghan, 40, was charged with stalking, making harassing phone calls and terroristic threats, according to sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.

Kernaghan is accused of stalking his estranged wife.

"Once we learned of the events, we, of course, we're very disappointed," Morris said. "As we've demonstrated in the past, we enforce the law no matter who is involved. Deputy Kernaghan's actions were dealt with swiftly and justly."

Kernaghan was released from the Columbia County Detention Center this afternoon after posting a $5,000 bond, according to jail personnel.

Kernaghan's wife, from whom he's been separated from since October 2009, called police Thursday. She claimed that since their separation Kernaghan has followed her on a number of occasions and calls her about 20 times per day, despite being told not to, according to a police report.

Also, she said he threatened to hurt her and she has audio recordings of the threats.

Kernaghan was a sheriff's office reserve deputy before being hired in February 2007. He was working as a motorcycle deputy with the sheriff's office traffic unit.

As with other sheriff's office employees charged with crimes, Kernaghan was terminated upon his arrest, Morris said.

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