Sheriff Byrd signs plea agreement with feds

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd's mugshot (Photo source: Ocean Springs Police Dept.)
Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd's mugshot (Photo source: Ocean Springs Police Dept.)

MOBILE, AL (WLOX) - Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd has signed a plea agreement with federal officials that could send him to prison for 20 years. But prosecutors are planning to recommend a sentence much lighter: six months under house arrest and six months probation.

A judge will have the final say on Byrd's actual sentence.

In papers signed Monday in Mobile, AL, the sheriff agreed to plead guilty to one count of federal witness tampering. Byrd admitted trying to persuade Sheriff's Deputy Christopher Goff to cover up an incident where Byrd kicked a handcuffed prisoner after a car chase.

Read the full plea agreement here:

The incident happened in June 2012. The car chase began in Jackson County, but ended across the state line in Alabama, which is why the case was filed in U.S. District Court in Mobile.

The court will decide the exact punishment for the sheriff, but the plea agreement sets certain limits:

-No more than 20 years imprisonment

-A fine not to exceed $250,000

-Supervised release of three years, which would follow any term of imprisonment.

-A mandatory special assessment of $100

The plea agreement also states that prosecutors will recommend Sheriff Byrd be sentenced to just six months of home confinement and six months probation.

The agreement means no more federal charges will be brought against the sheriff in this case, from the United States Attomey's Office for the Southern District of Alabama. No other federal, state or local prosecuting authorities are bound by the agreement.

Sheriff Byrd still faces a 31-count indictment in state court in Mississippi. Those charges include fraud, extortion, embezzlement, witness tampering and perjury.

Read the entire 31 count indictment here:

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