Sheriff Mike Byrd due in court Dec. 12 on state charges

mbbaker@sunherald.comDecember 5, 2013 

JACKSON COUNTY -- Two days after Sheriff Mike Byrd is scheduled to plead guilty to a federal charge in Alabama, he is due in Jackson County Circuit Court for a status conference in his state case in which he is charged with 29 felonies and two misdemeanor offenses.

Byrd is set to plead guilty Tuesday to a federal felony charge of misleading conduct toward another as it relates to the June 19, 2012, arrest of John Mark Stahl, accused in the theft of a Jackson County sheriff's patrol car.

At the hearing, any status update is expected to be discussed and any motions filed will be heard.

So far, no motions have been filed in the case.

"The parties agreed at the arraignment to set dates for the filing and hearing of motions prior to the March trial date," District Attorney Tony Lawrence said in response to questions about the hearing.

The hearing is set before Special Judge William Coleman, who is presiding over the case because Jackson County judges recused themselves. Byrd's trial on the state charges is set for March 10.

The state charges are 10 counts each of fraud and embezzlement, one

perjury charge, and two charges each of hindering prosecution, witness tampering, extortion, attempting to persuade another to commit perjury and intimidating an officer on duty.

The state charges portray Byrd as a sheriff who used his office to retaliate against perceived enemies; order deputies and office staff to raise money for private causes; demand free lawn mower care; punish a female deputy who rebuffed his sexual advances; and pressure a deputy to obtain an arrest warrant for a man in a murder case, though the deputy told a grand jury he did not believe the man had committed the crime.

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