Byrd's $31K bond set and charges outlined, not expected to leave office

klnelson@sunherald.comAugust 30, 2013 

OCEAN SPRINGS -- Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd left the Ocean Springs Police Department at 2:30 p.m. in a black Mercedes, driven by one of his attorneys. Attorney Ben Galloway pulled into a police parking garage and police closed the door, so Byrd would be able to leave without walking past the media.

A special judge set his bond at $31,000, $1,000 on each count and he will be released soon.

Jackson County judges are expected to recuse themselves from the case.

Byrd entered the Ocean Springs Police Department around 1 p.m., right behind chiefs from all the city Police Departments in the county.

He went in behind locked doors with his Gulfport attorneys Joe Sam Owen and Ben Galloway.

Byrd was wearing civilian clothes, not his police uniform. A parade of media followed him.

At around to 1:20 p.m. all the police chiefs left and 30 minutes later released a press packet with the charges and a statement from District Attorney Tony Lawrence, who had presented the case to the grand jury.

Pascagoula Police Chief Kenny Johnson told the Sun Herald that the city police chiefs all came to Ocean Springs, so that one police jurisdiction would not have to handle Byrd's arrest.

"We decided to do it together so no one would have to shoulder the burden alone," Johnson said.

In his statement, Lawrence reminded the public that an indictment is a charge and that Byrd is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Jackson County Circuit Clerk Joe Martin said, earlier in the day, there is no mechanism for removing a public official who is indicted from office.

"Until you plead guilty or are found guilty, you are innocent," Martin said.

If Byrd were to leave office, it would fall to the Jackson County Board of Supervisors to appoint a replacement.

Board President Mike Mangum, at noon today, said Byrd has not indicated to county officials that he would leave office.

"He runs his office the way he wants to," Mangum said. "So it's business as usual."

Byrd's attorney, Owen, confirmed this morning that Byrd had no plans to resign.

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