BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Tuesday, Judge Keith Starrett released the letters of support he read before making his decision on how long Michael Janus and Bill Walker should spend behind bars. The letters come from family, friends and colleagues, and ask the judge for leniency.
Former D'Iberville City Manager Michael Janus was sentenced to 21 months; Former Department of Marine Resources Director Bill Walker was sentenced to five years - the maximum sentence for the crime.
Those who wrote to Judge Starrett described Janus and Walker as trustworthy, moral men who have dedicated themselves to serving the community.
Larry Gartman said of Bill Walker, "Billy has lived a long worthy life, then in a snapshot he has been fired, humiliated and publicity disgraced. That's a lot for a good man who has had 42 years of distinguished service at the local, regional, and state level."
Jackson County Supervisor John McKay wrote, "Dr. Bill Walker is a good man that made a horrible mistake that he must now pay for. I ask that you consider Bill Walker's life works and the civic and professional good he has done while deciding his final punishment."
Meanwhile, supporters of Michael Janus mentioned his time as a state representative, and his devotion to his family and his church.
"We all make mistakes," Penny Payne wrote. "Michael has taken responsibility for his actions, and I know that he will spend the rest of his life proving to everyone that he is the person that we all know and love."
Father Patrick Mockler also wrote on behalf of Janus, saying, "He has always been an advocate for others as a public servant in his political career as well as more than generous in his help for needy individuals in the parish."
Judge Starrett said he read all the letters, but in the end felt the sentences needed to serve as deterrent. Both Walker and Janus are still waiting to find out where they will serve their prison time.