Prosecutors are asking to drop theft charges against a former police chief in suburban Mobile.
Mobile County District Attorney Keith Blackwood told WALA-TV on Monday that prosecutors found evidence of “dubious bookkeeping” but concluded Jerry Taylor wasn’t illegally receiving overtime pay when he was police chief in Creola.
Taylor is now police chief in Jackson, Alabama.
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Prosecutors asked Mobile County Circuit Judge Charles Graddick to dismiss the case, saying the charges should be dropped after “additional investigation.”
In 2019, then-Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich had said that Taylor and former Creola City Clerk Kim Green had stolen from the city.
“The investigation revealed both Green and Taylor received numerous unexplained checks from Creola during times that were not consistent with scheduled pay periods or typical reimbursement procedures,” Rich said at the time.
But Blackwood said that prosecutors now believe Taylor was entitled to all the money he was paid.
“We found that the time that he was paid for, he actually worked,” Blackwood said. “It was the way in which it was paid that sort of raised some red flags, because the schedule of payment was unusual. However, we did find that he actually worked those hours and, thus, there was no criminal activity involved.”
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Taylor’s lawyer, Stewart Hanley, said he showed evidence to prosecutors that would have exonerated Taylor. Prosecutors filed to dismiss charges Wednesday, in advance of a trial scheduled to begin Monday.
“I think they made the right choice,” Hanley told the television station.
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Green pleaded guilty in January in state court to first-degree theft and using her position for personal gain. A judge sentenced her to a 2½-year suspended sentence and 2 years of probation.
She pleaded guilty in 2020 in federal court to theft of federal funds and filing a false tax return in relation to money she embezzled from Creola between 2017 and 2017 and later from the city of Prichard, where she also worked, between 2017 and 2019
A federal judge sentenced her in 2021 to a year in prison in that case, ordering her to receive treatment for a gambling addiction and repay $444,000.