Sheriff Byrd remains free, warned to 'be very careful' - WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Sheriff Byrd remains free, warned to 'be very careful'

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JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd remains free on bond with a warning to "be very careful."  Judge William Coleman offered that advice to Sheriff Byrd before he recessed Friday's hearing on whether Byrd's bond should be revoked while he awaits trial on 31 charges.   

A morning of legal wrangling ended with no final decision on Byrd's bond. The back and forth between the defense and the district attorney Friday also included a request to keep details of the case secret.
 
District Attorney Tony Lawrence is seeking to have Byrd's $31,000 bond revoked, accusing him of intimidating witnesses who are also members of the sheriff's department. Sgt. Brad Lewis, Lt. Curtis Spiers and Lt. Ken McClenic testified about conversations they had with Byrd shortly after the sheriff was arrested. The DA said those phone calls were attempts to tamper with each deputy's testimony.
 
After the judge would not allow Lawrence to call any other witnesses, the DA said he planned to file an amended motion next week asking for more people to testify to support his argument that Byrd is intimidating witnesses.

Defense attorney Joe Sam Owen asked the judge to seal that motion, preventing the details from being released to the public and tainting potential jurors. Lawrence objected saying the case is "of great public interest" and should be kept open.
 
Judge Coleman did not grant Owens's request. Instead, he said he wants to read Lawrence's new motion before deciding if it should be sealed.
 
The DA also asked the judge to order Byrd have no further contact with potential witnesses in the case.  Judge Coleman refused to rule on that request, but told Byrd, "I'm going to give you some advice, you need to be very careful with what you do."
 
Byrd's defense attorney has said Byrd's conversations were not improper, and that Byrd made the calls to help in his own defense, something he is entitled to do.
 
A new hearing date will be set after the judge reviews the new motion.

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