The sheriff for Jackson County, Mississippi was indicted Friday on 31 criminal counts and accused of abusing his position to not only order a female deputy to give him sexual favors, but pursue a murder case against the wishes of an investigating detective.
WKRG-TV reported on Friday that the charges against Sheriff Mike Byrd include 10 counts of embezzlement, and 10 counts of fraud, two counts of extortion and one count of perjury, among other charges. Authorities contend that Byrd, a Republican currently in his fourth term in office, has used his position to target personal and political opponents and fudge his record to boost his re-election prospects.
One of the extortion charges in the indictment concerns an accusation that Byrd threatened the deputy in 2012 with a “bad recommendation to other law enforcement agencies” if she did not perform sexual acts and left the department. When she refused, the deputy was forbidden from taking part in a department program and moved to another work station in retaliation.
Byrd is also accused of pressuring a detective in 2007 to deliver an arrest warrant in a murder case against a man the detective did not believe committed the crime, so that Byrd could say during his re-election campaign at the time that there were no unsolved murders in the county. Authorities also accused Byrd of ordering deputies to conduct surveillance on a Mexican restaurant because it did not accept a personal check from him as payment for a meal.
Gulflive.com reported on Friday that bail for Byrd was set at $1,000 per count.
Watch WKRG’s report, aired Friday, below.
And read the 15-page indictment against Byrd here.