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My story, part 2


This is not the article I was going to write for this week’s paper. However, I decided to finish writing about my arrests rather than get into details of the charges against me.
I was indicted by the grand jury on two charges – revealing grand jury secrets and ethics violations. My plans are to write later about those absurd charges in detail.
Last week’s article recounted my first arrest. As soon as that paper hit the streets, I started getting calls, texts, emails, and Facebook messages. Folks were – and are – outraged at my treatment at the hands of District Attorney Steve Billy and Sheriff Heath Jackson.
Some of you said you were disgusted, sick to your stomach, angry, sad.
Some of you said you hoped the people involved felt some remorse at what had been done. If you think they feel remorse, you have missed the point. I believe in my heart that some who were involved in that arrest took great delight in reading what I went through in jail. That was their point, their goal – degradation, humiliation, defamation, embarrassment. You see, that was the beginning of my “punishment” for voting not to renew the contract of the person who was school superintendent at that time. Much more about that in future articles.
While the DA was likely already preparing a case against me on ethics violations (because of my vote), Don Fletcher and I handed him a bonus by publishing information about a grand jury case, although we didn’t know it was grand jury information. However, publishing the article was not against the law, and I think Steve Billy knew that. At least, he should have known that.
The reason we published that article was because the DA was investigating action that was legally done by the school board (I was not on the board at that time). The document that was given to us was for records concerning Covid funds and the administration of those funds by central office and other school personnel. The document was signed by the superintendent at that time, not the superintendent I referred to earlier in this article.
It appeared to Don and me that he was targeting several folks who had worked in the school system for years. Good folks. And we printed a couple of their names. And we were arrested.
My second arrest was for ethics violations. The sheriff allowed me to turn myself in at the jail Wednesday, November 1, 2023. My attorney, Earnie White, accompanied me. I was booked again. Mug shot, fingerprints, but no shower this time. I was allowed to hold up an orange shirt in front of me for the mug shot.
I was released on a property bond. I had three pieces of property – my house on Main Street, my family home on Curtis Road, and a house and property on Ahern Road. I remember waiting in an office in the jail, along with Earnie. Heath Jackson came in and was looking over my paperwork, including the property information. At one point, I assume when he saw the property’s value, his eyes widened. Seems he was surprised.
My third arrest was totally unexpected. On Monday, February 12, 2024, Jeri Webb, paralegal in Earnie’s office, called me and said I needed to come to their office, pick up some paperwork and take it to the jail. Once I did that, she said, someone at the jail would give me some paperwork. It had something to do with a case number. Sounded simple enough.
Given the distrust I had for the sheriff and DA, I asked Don to go with me and bring his camera. Didn’t really think I would need him or a picture, but I just had a gut feeling. Went to the attorney’s office, got the paperwork and turned it in to the clerk in the front lobby at the jail. Then we were told to have a seat. I knew nothing happened quickly at the jail, so we waited.
Finally, the clerk said she was getting a deputy. I had no idea why she was doing that, but in a little while a deputy came to the lobby and asked me to go with him. When we got to his office, I asked him if I was being arrested. He said he didn’t know; he just knew I had to go to the other side. Since I had been in this office before (at my second arrest), I knew what the “other side” of the jail was – booking area, shower, mug shots, fingerprints and cells. He called for another officer to accompany me to the “other side,” and I waited in the booking area until a female officer came. She told me I had to have a mug shot and fingerprints. When I told her I had two mug shots and two sets of fingerprints in recent months, she said, “But every time you’re arrested, you have to have them done again.”
“But every time you’re arrested, you have to have them done again.” And that is how I found out I was under arrest – again. I had had contact with a clerk and two deputies, and no one had told me I was being arrested.
So, back I went to the area where the mug shots are taken. There was an orange shirt lying there and she asked me to put it on. Of course, I had no idea how long the shirt had been there or how many people (male and female) had put it on. I told her the last time I was in jail the officer allowed me to hold the shirt up, so she allowed me to do the same.
I was at the jail for about an hour, for something I thought would take about five or 10 minutes. Then to the courthouse to pay a $35 bond filing fee.
At my first arrest in October 2023, my bond was set at $10,000. I was arrested the third time because my bond was reduced by the district attorney. I didn’t ask for it to be reduced. My attorneys (Earnie White and Cierra White) didn’t ask for it to be reduced. The DA apparently made that decision on his own.
Why? This is my opinion – Steve Billy knew he was going to recuse himself from my case. He filed a motion to that effect on February 21. The third arrest was one last “gotcha.” I know of no other reason for his actions.
As I stated above, that was their point, their goal – degradation, humiliation, defamation, embarrassment.
Don took a picture of me coming down the steps of the jail.

Some closing comments:

  • It seems nothing was happening except the arrests. But there was so much going on. Court dates, postponements, meetings with attorneys, arraignment hearings, postponements, motions to dismiss, postponements. Getting mail from the court clerk’s office two or three times a week. There was always something going on in the background.
    One day I was talking with a friend on my front porch and a deputy came by to deliver a summons. He was very nice about it, but what a shame he had to do that.
  • I want to print a timeline at some point. I had started that for this week, but thought I’d write about the other arrests instead. When I get into the people involved and the details of the charges – well, there’s so much to write about. Several people have suggested we write a book. I don’t think that’s a possibility, at least not for me.
  • In a paragraph above, I typed these words: “I told her the last time I was in jail …” What a bizarre statement to type. The last time I was in jail.
  • God is faithful.

To be continued.