PASCAGOULA, Miss.–Former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd may get as little as a year and a half on house arrest in an impromptu plea deal reached Thursday morning. The deal, arranged by Byrds, lawyer and D.A. Tony Lawrence, had Byrd plead guilty to only one felony count.
The 29 other felony charges were dismissed in the deal. Byrd also pleaded guilty this week to one federal count of witness tampering in Alabama.
The recommended sentence is now a year and a half to cover both the state and federal charges.
Byrd also updated his resignation from Dec. 31 to immediate, meaning he agreed to quit Thursday morning. That stopped controversy that developed around his original resignation letter, delivered to the president of the Jackson Co. Board of Supervisors Wednesday.
In that letter, Byrd said he would resign 11:59 p.m. Dec. 31. But, because he has been a convicted felon for about two days, he still could no longer serve or carry a gun.
That left some scratching their heads about whether procedures to have him removed should be started.
The remaining state charged means Byrd pleaded guilty to trying to hush one of the witnesses to an inner office shooting at the Jackson Co. Narcotics Task Force. The shooting was accidental, but tarnished the reputation of the task force and Byrd’s administration, leading to cities pulling out.
The federal charge he pleaded guilty to in Alabama means Byrd admitted he had a deputy erase a dash cam and drill a hole in a computer hard drive to ensure visual evidence of him (Byrd) kicking a suspect in the groin after a car chase did not resurface.