Mike Byrd due back in court; officials question resignation date

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Mike Byrd met Jackson County Board of Supervisors President Mike Mangum on the side of Highway 63 late Wednesday to give him a letter of resignation.

"It was real solemn he handed it to me and said, 'I believe you have been looking for this.' That was the extent of it; we didn't exchange many words," Mangum said.

In the letter, Mike Byrd said, "I hereby tender my resignation as the duly elected and acting Sheriff of Jackson County, Mississippi effective 11:59 pm, December 31st, 2013."

Mangum said, "I think what is going to happen and transpire at this point is our legal team is going to be taking a look at this."

The resignation has left supervisors wondering is the sheriff breaking the law again? According to state law, a sheriff cannot serve with a felony conviction. As of Tuesday, Byrd is a felon.

"I don't know what the attorney general might do as far as removing him until his resignation is effective," Mangum said.

Jackson County District Attorney Tony Lawrence said, "My office will check the law and consult with the attorney general's office to determine the effect of the letter the sheriff turned in today. It appears the sheriff has relinquished his duties as sheriff, but I'm unsure as to why he chose the effective date as December 31, 2013. I would hope the sheriff will reconsider and clarify the effective date of his resignation."

Byrd's Attorney Joe Sam Owen said Byrd was not clear, he meant to resign immediately. They plan to clear up any confusion Thursday morning.

"We are looking for an opportunity to move things forward," Mangum said.

With more legal battles to fight in court, supervisors fear the longer Byrd is in office, the tougher it will be to restore faith in the sheriff's department.

"We are all concerned with the black eye right now," Supervisor John McKay said. "We hope to resolve that with the new appointment we have and can take office and clear the cloud over Jackson County quickly."

Supervisor Barry Cumbest said, "I want everyone to know these charges are against Mike Byrd and we still have a great sheriff's department."

Supervisors plan to start looking at resumes and hope to have the job filled quickly after Byrd's resignation is official.

Mike Byrd is due in court Thursday for the 31 state charges he still faces. WLOX News will be there and, of course, bring you updates. Make sure to sign up for WLOX breaking news alerts, or download our FREE WLOX News app, so you can be among the first to know: http://www.wlox.com/category/217775/preference-center

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