Sheriff due in court for bond revocation hearing

Judge could rule to revoke bond

mbbaker@sunherald.comOctober 13, 2013 

JACKSON COUNTY -- Sheriff Mike Byrd is due in court today for the continuation of his bond revocation hearing before Special Judge William Coleman.

District Attorney Tony Lawrence is asking that Byrd be held in contempt of court and his bond revoked on 31 criminal charges. Lawrence says Byrd contacted and intimidated witnesses who testified against him before a grand jury.

In a motion filed last month, Lawrence said Byrd contacted three sheriff's deputies who had testified against him. All three testified at the initial bond revocation hearing on Sept. 20.

The judge did not issue a ruling in the case last month, instead choosing to wait on an amended motion Lawrence has since filed alleging Byrd has contacted additional grand jury witnesses who testified against him in an attempt to pressure them to testify on his behalf.

Byrd's attorney, Joe Sam Owen, admits Byrd contacted the witnesses, but said he was doing so to assist attorneys in his own defense.

Byrd was arrested Aug. 30 on 29 felony charges and two misdemeanor offenses, or 10 charges 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.

Today's hearing is slated to begin at 1 p.m. in the old Jackson County Courthouse.

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