Byrd's attorney files motion to limit evidence

SUN HERALDSeptember 19, 2013 

JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALDJackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd, right, turns himslef in at the Ocean Springs Police Department with his attorney Joe Sam Owen on Friday, Aug. 30, 2013


The defense attorney for Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd filed a motion Thursday asking a judge to limit evidence by witnesses who could testify today in a bond-revocation hearing.

In a motion filed Sept. 10 to revoke Byrd's bond, District Attorney Tony Lawrence said Byrd contacted and intimidated witnesses who testified against him in his criminal case.

Lawrence said Byrd violated the conditions of his bond on 31 criminal charges.

In the motion filed Thursday, Byrd's attorney, Joe Sam Owen, said the state "chose to present its case to the Court and invariably to the world through the public filing of the subject motion," which included narratives from witnesses Lt. Curtis Spiers, Sgt. Brad Lewis and Lt. Ken McClenic.

The state should be limited in its proof to the narratives themselves, Owen said, rather than further testimony from the officers, who are expected to testify in today's bond revoca

tion hearing.

"Any such testimony will be repetitive, and will cause further media attention …" Owen wrote in his motion.

The motion says "the state should not be permitted to offer testimonial evidence or argue additional reasons to support the bond revocation."

Lawrence, in his motion to revoke bond and hold Byrd in contempt of court, said Byrd's questioning of witnesses was done "in such a manner as to place pressure on … witnesses to testify falsely."

"The state would show the sheriff is using his position as sheriff and supervisor of witnesses to compel them to talk about their testimony and has used direct and subtle intimidation on … witnesses," Lawrence wrote. "The sheriff is engaging in conduct which appears to be attempting to manipulate witness testimony and harass … witnesses."

Byrd has been free on $31,000 bond since Aug. 30, when he was arrested in Ocean Springs on 29 felony charges and two misdemeanor offenses, which include fraud, embezzlement, hindering prosecution, witness tampering, extortion, intimidation and perjury.

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