Byrd's bond revocation hearing to continue Oct. 14

mbbaker@sunherald.comOctober 2, 2013 

PASCAGOULA -- Sheriff Mike Byrd's bond revocation hearing will continue on Oct. 14 at 1 p.m. before Special Judge William Coleman.

District Attorney Tony Lawrence last month asked the courts to revoke Byrd's bond and hold him in contempt of court for contacting and intimidating witnesses who testified against him before a grand jury.

In the filing, Lawrence noted Byrd had contacted three sheriff's deputies who had testified against him. All three -- Lt. Curtis Spiers, Lt. Ken McClenic and Sgt. Brad Lewis -- testified at the initial bond revocation hearing on Sept. 20. The judge did not issue a ruling in the case that day, instead waiting on an amended motion the state has since filed alleging Byrd contacted other grand jury witnesses who have testified against him to pressure them to testify in Byrd's defense. That motion, however, is under seal and is not open for public viewing.

Byrd's attorney, Joe Sam Owen, has admitted Byrd contacted the witness but said he was only assisting his attorneys in his own defense.

Owen also described Lawrence's initial filing, which included statements from the three deputies describing their conversations with Byrd about their grand jury testimony, a "reckless filing" filled with "scathing and inflammatory accusations and opinions", which would hinder Byrd's ability to get a fair trial in Jackson County.

Byrd was arrested Aug. 30 in Ocean Springs on 31 criminal charges, or 10 counts each of fraud and embezzlement and two counts each of second-degree hindering prosecution, witness tampering, attempted subornation of perjury, intimidating an officer in the discharge of his duties, extortion and one count of perjury.

Byrd waived his arraignment on the charges and has pleaded not guilty.

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